Ethical Dilemma Case Study

Sample Case Studies

Below are 27 case studies on an ethical dilemmas. They are categorized into different parts depending on the issue they address. Questions under the first case study have been answered for you to act as a sample for your work.


Part 1 Justice Administration: An Introduction

Chapter 2 Organization and Administration: Principles and Practices

I. Targeting Tattoos

You are a police chief in a medium-sized city and have just received information from a captain that one of your officers, Newton, has recently had a swastika tattooed on one arm and a naked woman on the other. The captain says that both tattoos are visible in the summer uniform and, as news is spreading about these adornments, an increasing number of officers are becoming offended and some are even saying that they will refuse to respond to any calls for service with Newton. Based on this information, you believe that the tattoo may violate the city’s policy against workplace harassment and quickly call Newton into your office. He admits having the tattoos but rather sarcastically states that he has a “liberty” interest under the Fourteenth Amendment and a right to “expression” under the First Amendment. He adds that for you to try to control such activity would constitute a “hostile” work environment. You know that there is currently no policy that prohibits the displaying of any tattoos, let alone any that are offensive.


Questions for Discussion

1. Can you take any action in response to the complaint?
2. Do you have the right to reasonably regulate the appearance of employees and require a professional appearance?
3. If you implement a policy against such tattoos, does the rule impermissibly discriminate against Newton?
4. Can you use to advantage any U.S. Supreme Court decisions in response to this matter?

Part 2 The Police

Chapter 3 Police Organization and Operation

I. Malfunction Junction

Junction City, a rapidly growing community of 150,000 residents, is an agriculturally based area located in the center of the state, about 20 miles from the ocean. The city gains a population of 10,000 to 20,000 visitors a day during the summer months when ocean recreation is a popular activity. Owing to local growth in the meat-packing industry, the city’s demographics are changing rapidly, especially its blue-collar population. The downtown area of the city has slowly deteriorated over the past few years, resulting in increased crime and disorder. A property tax cap has resulted in reduced revenues to local jurisdictions, and the recent recession has taken a substantial toll on the city’s budget; the result has been significant reductions in staffing. The police department now has 100 sworn and 35 nonsworn personnel and has experienced its share of budget cuts and staff reductions. The chief of police of 10 years’ duration retired recently, leaving an agency that is still very traditional in nature and has a growing number of desk-bound administrative personnel and degree of rank structure (corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief, commander, and chief). The morale of the department is poor because of the increases in workload resulting from tourism and agricultural expansion. You have been hired as the new police chief. As a result of the current situation, the city manager and council are calling for an emergency meeting with you to discuss the future of the department. They explain that at a recent council retreat, they heard a consultant’s presentation on the implementation and operation of community policing and problem solving. They are now seeking your views on this strategy, its potential for Junction City, and how you might approach its implementation. (Note: They emphasize that you have to explain how you might reorganize the police department to move away from its current traditional organization, with only one police facility and its administration-and rank-laden status.)

Questions for Discussion

1. Do you envision any problems with traditional-thinking officers and supervisors still working in the organization? If so, how will you handle their concerns?
2. Using the seven elements of police organizational structure described in this chapter, where does it appear that you would need to reorganize the agency, especially to accommodate Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS)?
3. Would you anticipate that the officers’ workload would be reduced or increased under the COPPS strategy?
4. What types of information would you use to evaluate the progress of your community policing initiative?

II. Sins and the City

Officers assigned to your district have been responding to a number of noise complaints, reckless driving incidents, and fight calls in the area of 7500 Commercial Row. This area contains a number of restaurants, bars, and several strip malls that attract juveniles and young adults. Within the past week, there have also been three gang-related drive-by shootings and seven gas drive-offs. A majority of the underage adults are attracted to the area by a dance club located in one of the strip mall centers and two all-night fast food restaurants. All three locations attract large crowds that loiter and drink alcohol in their parking lots. The owners of the shopping centers and restaurants have also complained about thousands of dollars in vandalism caused by the loitering youths.

Question for Discussion

1. How would you use the S.A.R.A. (scanning, analysis, response, and assessment) process to address this problem?

Chapter 4 Police Personnel Roles and Functions

I. Intruding Ima and the Falsified Report

An 8-year employee of your police agency, Officer Ima Goodenough, is a patrol officer who often serves as a field training officer. Goodenough is generally capable and experienced in both the patrol and detective divisions. She takes pride in being of the “old school” and has developed a clique of approximately 10 people with whom she gets along while mostly shunning other officers. As an officer of the old school, she typically handles calls for service without requesting cover units or backup. She has had six complaints of brutality lodged against her during the last 3 years. For Ima and her peers, officers who call for backup are “wimps.” She has recently been involved in two high-speed pursuits during which her vehicle was damaged when she attempted to run the offender off the road. Ima will notify a supervisor only when dealing with a major situation. She is borderline insubordinate when dealing with new supervisors. She believes that, generally speaking, the administration exists only to “screw around with us.” You, her shift commander, have been angry about her deteriorating attitude and reckless performance for some time and have been wondering whether you will soon have occasion to take some form of disciplinary action against her. You have also learned that Ima has a reputation among her supervisors as being a “hot dog.” Some of her past and present supervisors have even commented that she is a “walking time bomb” who is unpredictable and could “blow” at any time.

One day, while bored on patrol, Ima decides to go outside her jurisdiction, responding to a shooting call that is just across the city limit and in the county. She radios the dispatcher that she is out “assisting,” then walks into the home where paramedics are frantically working on a man with a head wound lying on the floor. Nearby on the floor is a large foreign-made revolver; Ima holds and waves the revolver in the air, examining it. A paramedic yells at her, “Hey! Put that down, this may be an attempted homicide case!” Ima puts the revolver back on the floor. Meanwhile, you have been attempting to contact Ima via radio to get her back into her jurisdiction. Later, when the sheriff’s office complains to you about her actions at their crime scene, you require her to write a report of her actions. She completes a report describing her observations at the scene but denies touching or picking up anything. Looking at Ima’s personnel file, you determine that her performance evaluations for the past 8 years are “standard”—average to above average. She has never received a suspension from duty for her actions. Although verbally expressing their unhappiness with her for many years, Ima’s supervisors have not expressed that attitude in writing.

Questions for Discussion

1. What are the primary issues involved in this situation?
2. Do you believe that there are sufficient grounds for bringing disciplinary action against Goodenough? If so, what would be the specific charges? What is the appropriate punishment?
3. Do you believe that this is a good opportunity to terminate Ima’s employment? Do grounds for termination exist?
4. Does the fact that Ima’s supervisors have rated her performance as standard have any bearing on this matter or create difficulties in bringing a case for termination? If so, how?

Chapter 5 Police Issues and Practices

I. Bias-Based Policing or Good Police Work?

Officer James and Sergeant Drummond are on surveillance in a strip mall. A detective received an anonymous tip that a credit union might be robbed at 3:00 P.M. The detective also told the patrol division that the person providing the tip is a known drug addict and not at all reliable, but as there has been a string of credit union robberies during the past 2 months, Drummond decides to surveil the area with Officer James. The main suspects in the robberies are Asians, and the officers have stopped and talked with several Asian people in the area, taking their names and other identifying information. At approximately 2:45 P.M., Drummond and James are notified by Communications that a security officer reported hearing a gunshot in the parking lot of a nearby grocery store where he was working. Because they are nearby and there might be a connection to the credit union robberies, Drummond and James decide to take the call. On arrival at the scene, the security officer meets the two officers and informs them that he “might have” heard a small-caliber pistol shot in the parking lot; he also believes that a young black man who walked into the grocery store a few minutes ago might be carrying a gun under his coat. About 10 minutes later, a 30-year-old black man comes walking out of the store. The officers draw their guns and order him to get down on the asphalt and to their vehicle. At that time, an Asian woman carrying a child approaches the officers, yelling at them that the man is her husband and demanding to know what they are doing to him. The officers order her to go her car, whereupon she faints while suffering an epileptic seizure. The black man, seeing his wife and child on the ground, now becomes very agitated; as a result, the officers use considerable force to subdue and handcuff him. He is arrested for resisting arrest and a host of other offenses; later, he sues for violation of his civil rights.

Questions for Discussion

1. Did the officers have just cause to be engaged in the initial (credit union) surveillance? To question Asian people in the area? Defend your answer.
2. Did the officers violate the black man’s civil rights? Why or why not? If you answer “yes,” would you support (as the chief of police) some form of disciplinary action against them?
3. Should the woman be entitled to collect damages? Why or why not?
4. In which (if any) aspects of this scenario do you believe the officers are guilty of engaging in racial profiling? Explain your answer.
5. Assume that this case led to a public outcry for a citizen review board to examine questionable police activities and recommend disciplinary and policy actions. Would you support the creation of such a board? Why or why not?

II. Adapting to the Responsibilities of the Role

Sergeant Tom Gresham was newly promoted and assigned to patrol on the graveyard shift; he knew each officer on his shift, and several were close friends. Gresham was an excellent patrol officer, and prided himself on his reputation and his ability to get along with his peers. He also believed this trait would benefit him as a supervisor. From the beginning, Gresham believed that he could get more work from his officers by relating to them at their level. He made an effort to socialize with them after work and took pride in giving his team the liberty of referring to him by his first name. Gresham also believed that it was a supervisor’s job to not get in the way of good police work. In his view, his team responded magnificently, generating the highest number of arrest and citation statistics in the entire department. Unfortunately, his shift also generated the highest number of citizen complaints for abusive language and improper use of force, but few complaints were sustained by Internal Affairs. It was Gresham’s opinion that complaints are the product of good, aggressive police work. He had quickly developed the reputation among subordinates of being “a cop’s cop.”

One Monday morning, Gresham is surprised when called in to see you, his patrol captain. The Internal Affairs lieutenant is also present. You show Gresham a number of use-of-force complaints against his team over the past week, while Gresham was on vacation. Despite your efforts to describe the gravity of the situation, Gresham fails to grasp the seriousness of the complaints and how his supervisory style may have contributed to them.

Questions for Discussion

1. What do you believe are some of Sergeant Gresham’s problems as a new supervisor?
2. As his captain, what advice would you give Gresham?
3. What corrective action must Gresham take immediately with his team of officers?

Part 3 The Courts

Chapter 6 Court Organization and Operation

I. Chief Judge Cortez’s Embattled Court

You have just been hired as the new court administrator for a medium-sized court with approximately 90 employees. Once on the job, you discover that you have been preceded by two heavy-handed court administrators who together lasted less than 1 year on the job because of their inability to handle employee conflicts and to achieve a minimal level of productivity. They were more or less forced to resign because of a lack of employee cooperation and increasing talk of unionization. There is general turmoil and distrust throughout the organization. Employees do not trust each other, and as a group, they do not trust management. The courthouse runs on gossip and inertia. There is very little official communication throughout the organization. Prior court administrators made no attempt to solicit employees’ opinions or ideas. The judges are all aware of the problem, but they have formed no clear consensus on how to respond to it. In fact, there is turmoil and conflict among the judges themselves. They engage in “turf protection” with operating funds and the court’s cases and often take sides in office squabbles. As a result, they are unable to achieve a clear consensus or to provide the court administrator with any guidance. The chief judge, Dolores Cortez, has served in that capacity for 10 years and is known to be exceedingly fair, compassionate, and competent; however, she is approaching retirement (in 6 months) and appears unwilling to take a firm stand on, or a strong interest in, addressing intraoffice disputes and difficulties. In fact, she is not altogether convinced that there is a problem. Furthermore, in past years, she has been quite reluctant to intervene in arguments between individual judges.


Questions for Discussion

1. As the “new kid on the block,” how would you respond to this organizational problem? What is the first issue you would address, and how would you address it? What additional problems require your attention?
2. As court administrator, how would you respond to the inability of the judges to develop a consensus? How could the decision-making process be improved?
3. What techniques could be employed to improve communication throughout the organization, lessen tension and strife, and generally create a more harmonious work environment?
4. What would be your general approach to Judge Cortez? To her successor?

II. What action, which court? A quiz1

1. Melvin entered a federally insured bank and robbed money from the safe. In which level of the court will this case most likely be filed? Your Answer: federal-state either 2. Two weeks later, Melvin robbed a man who had just taken money out of an ATM machine in a grocery store. Where will this case most likely be filed? Your Answer: federal-state either 3. Mary works for a local criminal justice agency; she claims that her supervisor refused to promote her because she is related to his ex-wife. Where will Mary file this case? Your Answer: federal-state either 4. True or false? There are two kinds of courts in the federal court system: the trial court and the Supreme Court. Your Answer: True False 5. True or false? A person accused of a crime is generally charged in a formal accusation. The name of this accusation for a misdemeanor is called an indictment. Your Answer: True False


1. The correct answer is “federal.” Because this crime was committed within the bank and is a theft of the bank’s money, which is insured by the federal government, it is a federal crime and would be filed in federal court.
2. The correct answer is “state.” Because the money had already come out of the ATM machine and was in the man’s possession, the victim was the man and not the bank. Thus, it is a state crime and it would be tried in state court.
3. The correct answer is “either.” Both federal and state laws prohibit gender discrimination, and plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases may sue in either federal or state court.
4. The correct answer is “false.” The federal system is composed of trial courts and appellate courts. The Supreme Court is the highest appellate court but not the only appeals court.
5. The correct answer is “false.” The document charging a person with a misdemeanor is called an information. An indictment is used for felonies or serious crimes.

1Adapted from the Federal Judicial Center, “Inside the Federal Courts: What the Federal Courts Do,”!openform&nav=menu1&page=/federal/courts.nsf/page/172 (accessed October 25, 2010).

Chapter 7 Court Personnel Roles and Functions

I. The Court Administrator and the Prudent Police Chief

You are the court administrator in a system that has the following procedure for handling traffic matters:

  1. All persons who are given a traffic citation are to appear in court at 9:00 A.M. either on Monday or Wednesday within 2 weeks of their citation date. They are given a specific date to appear.
  2. Persons cited are not required to appear; they have the option of staying home and simply forfeiting their bond, which has been posted in advance of their initial appearance.
  3. At the initial appearance, the arresting agency is represented by a court officer who has previously filed copies of all the citations with the clerk of the court.
  4. The clerk, prior to the return date on the citation, prepares a file for each citation.
  5. The clerk calls each case, and those persons appearing are requested by the court to enter a plea; if the plea is “not guilty,” the matter is set for trial at a future date.
  6. One case is scheduled per hour. On the trial date, the prosecutor and arresting officer are required to appear, ready for trial.
  7. Statistics show that 75 percent of those persons pleading not guilty in this jurisdiction fail to appear for trial.

The chief of police in the court’s jurisdiction is concerned about overtime for officers. He communicates with you, the court administrator, about this issue and explains that all police officers who appear in court for trial are entitled to the minimum 2 hours of overtime when they are not appearing during their regular shift. He views this as a tremendous and unnecessary expense to the city in view of the fact that most of the officers are not needed because the defendants do not appear and wishes to devise some system to save the city this high overtime cost.

Questions for Discussion

1. What system would you propose for solving the problem—within the existing law, with no changes in statutes or ordinances?
2. After you have finished designing a system, including how you would obtain the cooperation of the judges, prosecuting and defense attorneys, clerk’s office, and other law enforcement agencies, discuss any proposed changes in the law that you think might improve the system further.
3. How would you go about making other significant, ongoing changes to improve the procedures and operation of this system?

Chapter 8 Court Issues and Practices

I. Carol’s Construct for Court Chaos

Carol Smith, a divorced mother of one, employed as an assistant manager at a large discount center, was denied custody of her 10-year-old son following a bitter divorce (in which her husband accused her of neglect and inattentive behavior toward the child). In July, she filed several actions against the county and other parties, alleging violations of her civil rights. When these petitions were denied, she petitioned the state Supreme Court, writing a letter about her case that stated in part, “This county’s courts and social services do not have a bit of compassion for anyone, and cared nothing about protecting my rights or administering due process to me. I should not have to be paying all of these lawyer’s fees and losing so much sleep about getting my son back. No one should have to turn to such actions as the World Trade Center to get some proper attention, but that is the only thing some people will listen to.” Smith later told former coworkers at a grocery store that if the state Supreme Court would not hear her case, she would go to the state capital “and shoot up the place.” Then, when that court did decline to review her case, she became distraught. A number of her neighbors were very alarmed as she kept ranting about her violent intentions. One day she left her home and traveled to the state capital, where she went to the Supreme Court building. While there, she called a relative back home and stated that she had “found her purpose in life” that she “planned to shoot the top judge” and had bought a gun. The relative contacted the police, who arrested her for making threats against the judge’s life.

Questions for Discussion

Looking at this case from a threat perspective:

1. What potential motives for her behavior first brought Carol Smith to official attention?
2. What events represented significant losses to her, which she found quite stressful?
3. What elements of the case point to her having a reasonable level of cognitive ability that would allow her to formulate and execute a plan if she chose to do so?
4. What communications and arrangements did she make that indicated that she planned to carry out her threat?
5. What events might have increased or decreased the likelihood of an attack?
6. Taken together, which events suggest that she was on a path toward a violent attack?

II. An Unmanageable Case-Management Quandary

You are the administrator for a court with 50 employees. This court, which used to dispose of about 700 cases per month, now hears an average of 100 criminal and 400 civil cases per month. Case filings have doubled in the past 7 years. The present “hybrid” combination of the individual and master case-management systems has evolved over a long period of time through tradition and expediency. A growing caseload and increasing difficulties in avoiding a backlog, however, have prompted the judges to rethink their present system. Criminal cases that formerly reached final disposition in 1 month now require 2 to 3 months. The situation shows no signs of improvement in the foreseeable future. Again, the court has a mixed calendar system. Two judges are assigned to hear criminal cases and motions for a 1-month period, whereas the remaining four judges hear all manner of civil cases on a random basis on the filing of civil complaints. The judges are responsible for the management of these cases until the final disposition. At the end of the 1-month period, the two judges hearing criminal cases return to the civil division and two other judges rotate onto the criminal bench; any pending criminal cases or motions are then heard by these two incoming criminal judges. One of the judges hears all juvenile-related cases in addition to any assignment in the criminal and civil divisions. The court collects statistics on the number of court filings and motions filed in each division on a month-to-month basis.


Questions for Discussion

1. In a general way, discuss both the merits and difficulties of this case-management approach. What are the general advantages and disadvantages of the individual and master calendar systems?
2. What specific problems could arise in the criminal division? Why?
3. What specific problems could be created by the permanent assignment of a judge to the juvenile division? What advantages might there be?
4. What changes would you recommend with regard to the court’s statistical report? Are other data needed for management purposes? If so, what kind?

Part 4 Corrections

Chapter 9 Corrections Organization and Operation

I. As Bad as It Can Get

You are the deputy warden for operations in a comparatively small (500 inmates) maximum-security prison for adults. As is typical, you oversee correctional security, unit management, the inmate disciplinary committee, and recreation. One Wednesday at about 2:00 A.M., an inmate who is a minority group member with a history of mental health problems and violent behavior begins destroying his cell and injures himself by ramming into the walls. The supervisor in charge collects a group of four correctional officers with the intention of removing the inmate from his cell and isolating, medicating, and checking him for injuries. The group of four—all fairly new on the job, untrained in cell extraction or self-defense, and with no specialized extraction equipment—prepares to enter the cell. When the officers open the cell door, the inmate charges them, knocking two of them down. They finally wrestle the inmate to the floor, although he is still struggling. One officer attempts to subdue him by wrapping his arm around the inmate’s neck, pressing on his carotid artery. Finally, the inmate quiets down and is restrained and removed to another, larger cell. After 15 minutes, however, the inmate has failed to regain consciousness. A medical staff person rushes to the cell, sees the inmate in an unconscious state, and has him taken to a local hospital. After the inmate has remained comatose for 2 months and has been classified as brain dead, the family decides to remove the life-support system that has sustained him.

Questions for Discussion

1. What, if any, inmate rights are involved in this case?
2. Which, if any, of the inmate’s rights were violated?
3. To what extent does the prison system’s central office become involved? What kinds of policies need to be developed to cover similar occurrences in the future?
4. As deputy warden, what disciplinary action would you consider against the officers? Did the officers intend to harm the inmate?
5. What needs and problems require new policies? Facilities for mentally ill inmates? Officer training? Equipment?

II. When Politics Trumps Policy

For 2 years, you have been director of a prison system for adults in a medium-sized state. As a result of revenue shortfalls for several years, it has been a constant struggle to keep a full labor force in your state’s 10 prisons and to lure professional staff members to work and live in the more rural areas where they are located. During the past 6 months, however, you have managed to assemble a fine staff of wardens and other subordinates in the prisons and have implemented a number of policies that provide for educational, vocational, and treatment opportunities, which have been gaining national attention for their effectiveness. Recidivism has been reduced to 30 percent, and your policies are beginning to be accepted by staff and citizens alike. Running a “Take Back the Streets” anticrime campaign, a politically inexperienced person (formerly a popular college quarterback playing at a state university) was recently elected governor. The new governor has just sent you a letter stating in effect that your institution is not the “Ritz” and demanding that all “frivolous, namby-pamby programs teaching the ABCs and where cons learn how to hammer nails” cease immediately. He asks for your written response, a plan for tightening security, and the implementation of tougher inmate programs within 1 month.

Questions for Discussion

1. How would you respond? Would you just capitulate and end some or all of these programs? Explain your answer.
2. Is there any room to negotiate with the governor? As a trade-off, would you offer to put in place some programs that are known to be tough on inmates? If so, what kind?
3. Before dismantling your policies and programs, would you attempt to see how much internal and external support you have for them? If yes, whom would you contact and how?
4. How might you go about demonstrating how successful your policies have been?

III. “Out-of-Town Brown” and the Besieged Probation Supervisor

Joan Casey is a career probation officer. She majored in criminal justice as an undergraduate, holds memberships in several national correctional organizations, attends training conferences, and does a lot of reading on her own time to stay current in the field. Casey began working for the Collier County Probation Department soon after she graduated from college and was promoted to a supervisory position, where she supervises an adult probation unit consisting of eight seasoned probation officers. The unit is responsible for investigating approximately 80 offenders a month and preparing presentence investigation (PSI) reports on them. Collier County’s Probation Department made the front page of the local newspapers twice in the past month. Both times it was a nightmare for the chief probation officer, Jack Brown, and the entire agency. “Northside Stalker Gets Probation!” screamed the first headline, and then, just a week later, “Collier County Soft on Crime!” Brown called a management team meeting: “Better PSIs,” he said, “or heads are gonna roll!” Everybody got the point. This week Brown is on annual leave and Casey is the designated officer in charge. One of Casey’s probation officers has recommended intermediate sanctions for a 23-year-old man who murdered his stepfather with a knife after suffering many years of physical and mental abuse. The young man had no prior record and had been an incest victim since he was 5 years old; he is considered an otherwise nonviolent person, a low recidivism risk. Casey is aware of the probation officer’s recommendation and agrees with it. However, she receives a call from a well-known veteran local television anchor—a strong crusader in the local war against crime. He knows the young man will be sentenced tomorrow.

Questions for Discussion

1. What should Casey’s response be to the reporter (other than hanging up or telling him to call back) concerning the agency’s recommendation?
2. If Casey elects to discuss her officer’s recommendation for some form of intermediate sanction, how can she justify such sanctions in general and in this case specifically?
3. Do you feel that the probation officer’s recommendation based on these facts is correct? Why or why not?
4. Which form of intermediate sanction would appear to hold the most promise for the offender in this case?

Chapter 10 Corrections Personnel Roles and Functions

I. The Wright Way

Lieutenant Bea Wright has been in her current position in the state prison for 1 year and is the shift supervisor on the swing (evening) shift, which consists of 20 officers. There is also a recreation and development lieutenant who oversees the yard, commissary, and other high-use areas during the shift. Wright begins at 4:00 P.M. by holding a roll call for officers, briefing them on the activities of the day, any unusual inmate problems or tensions in progress, and special functions (such as Bible study groups) that will be happening during the evening. Soon after roll call, Wright has the staff conduct the very important evening count—important because inmates have not been counted since the morning. At about 5:00 P.M., Wright determines that there are only four COs in the dining room with 1,000 inmates, so she contacts other units (such as education, library, and recreation) and asks them to send available staff to the dining hall for support. After dinner, Wright finds a memo from the warden asking her to recommend ways of improving procedures for having violent inmates in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) taken to the recreation area in the evening. Wright asks two of her top COs who work in the SHU to provide her with some preliminary information concerning the system in place and any recommendations they might have. While walking the yard, Wright observes what appears to be an unusual amount of clustering and whispering by inmates by race; she asks a sergeant to quietly survey the COs to determine whether there have also been unusual periods of loud music or large amounts of long-lasting foodstuffs purchased in the commissary (together, these activities by inmates might indicate that a race war is brewing or an escape plan is being developed). Furthermore, as she is on the way to her office, an inmate stops her, saying that a group of inmates is pressuring him to arrange to have drugs brought into the prison and he fears for his safety. Wright arranges for him to be called out of the general population the next day under the guise of being transported to a prison law library, at which time he can meet privately with an investigator and thus not draw suspicion to himself for talking to the staff. At about 9:00 P.M., Anderson, a CO, comes to her office to report that he overheard another CO, Jones, making disparaging remarks to other staff members concerning Anderson’s desire to go to graduate school and to become a warden some day. Anderson acknowledges that he does not get along with Jones and is tired of his “sniping,” and he asks Wright to intercede. She also knows that Jones has been argumentative with other staff members and inmates of late and makes a mental note to visit with him later in the shift to see if he is having personal problems.

Questions for Discussion

1. Does it appear that Lieutenant Wright, although fairly new in her position, has a firm grasp of her role and performs well in it?
2. In what ways is it shown that Wright seeks input from her subordinates?
3. How does she delegate to and empower her subordinates?
4. Is there any indication that Wright is interested in her COs’ training and professional development?
5. In which instances does Wright engage in mediation? In management by walking around?

II. “Cheerless Chuck” and the Parole Officer’s Orientation Day

“So, you are the new parole officer with a criminal justice degree from the university? Well, I hope you last longer than the last recruit I had. She meant well, but I guess her idealistic ideas about the job of a parole officer could not handle the realities of the work. In a way, I understand what she went through. Same thing happened to me 12 years ago when I started this job. There, I was fresh out of college with a brand new diploma. It did not take me long to realize that the real world was different from what I had learned in college. The crises we deal with here make it darned difficult to do the work we all see needs to be done. Years ago, when I first started with the parole department, things were a lot better than they are now. Caseloads were lower, fewer people were getting parole who did not deserve it, and the rest of the criminal justice system was in a lot better shape, which made our jobs a lot easier to do.

Think about it. We vote in politicians who promise the public that they are going to ‘get tough’ on crime, and the first thing they do is allot more money for law enforcement stuff: beat cops, car computers, helicopters, and so on. These things are great, but all they do is add more people to a system that is already overloaded. No one gets elected by promising to build more courts or add jail and prison space or hire more probation and parole officers. Eventually, these added police officers arrest more people than the system can handle. The courts back up, which in turn messes up the prisons and the jails. The inmates stuck in these crowded places get tired of living like sardines, so they sue the prisons and jails. Remember, the Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. A lot of times inmates’ complaints are legitimate, and they win. The judge orders the prison to lower its population to a reasonable level, which forces the parole board to consider more inmates for early release. Nobody mentions giving the parole department more officers or a bigger budget for added administrative help. No, the bucks go to the flashy, visible things such as cops and cars.

Meanwhile, in the past 10 years, our average caseload for a parole officer has increased 75 percent. We have more people who need supervision, and we are doing it on a budget that has not kept pace with the remainder of the criminal justice system. This would not be so bad if the system was at least adding things to other areas such as the jail or the courts. The problem here is that we depend on the jail to hold our parolees who have violated their conditions. We catch some of them using booze or drugs, and we are supposed to bring them into the county jail to wait for a hearing to decide whether they are going back to prison or back on the street. But the jail has its own set of problems. A couple of years ago, the U.S. district court slapped a population cap on our jail. If it goes over that population, the jail will not accept our violators. So we send them home. If they get into more serious trouble, we call it a new crime, the police arrest them, and the jail has to take them. Then, they have to sit and wait for the court to catch up because the courts are not in much better shape than the jail. I guess the job would be easier if the prisons were doing their jobs, too. I cannot really blame them because the prisons are funded in much the same way that parole is. We are not ‘glamorous’ places to send your tax dollars, but if the prisons were getting more money, they might be able to improve the quality of inmate they send to us. Maybe a little more vocational training and substance abuse counseling, so that they could stay off the booze and drugs. Possibly then fewer of these parolees would wind up back behind bars a few years later.

The worst part about the job is the caseload. We presently have so many on parole that I am lucky if I can get a phone call to each of them once a week and maybe a home visit once a month. The sad part about it is that with the proper budget and staff, we could really make a difference. We spend so much time bailing water out of the boat that we do not realize that there is no one steering and we are just drifting in circles.

By the way, my name is Charlie Matthews, but everyone calls me Chuck. I am a supervisor here as well as the designated new-employee orientation specialist and all-round public relations person. Welcome aboard.”

Questions for Discussion

1. Should Chuck be retained as orientation coordinator? Why or why not?
2. How would changes in politics affect the parole system directly and indirectly?
3. How does an old criminal justice planning adage that “you cannot rock one end of the boat” seem to be applicable to what Chuck says about new police positions and the subsequent impact on the courts and corrections components?
4. What administrative problems and practices might be responsible for this agency’s situation?
5. Why do crowded jails and prisons make the job of parole officers more difficult?
6. How could practices of the jails and prisons change the success of the parole system?

Chapter 11 Corrections Issues and Practices

I. Double, Double, Toil, and Trouble

There seems to be trouble brewing in a nearby medium-level adult prison. Inmate informers have noted several conditions indicating that a riot may be imminent: Inmates are stocking up on long-term items (e.g., canned goods) in the commissary and banding together more throughout the institution by racial groupings; furthermore, inmates are seen standing in or near doorways, as if preparing for a quick exit. Over the past several months, the inmates have become increasingly unhappy with their conditions of confinement—not only with the usual bland food, but also with the increasing number of assaults and gang attacks—and many are either very young, nonviolent offenders or very old and frail. The staff has also become increasingly unhappy, particularly, with their low salaries and benefits, perceived unsafe working conditions and attacks on officers, institutional overcrowding, the increasing number of sexual attacks among inmates, and greater amounts of drugs and other forms of contraband found in the cellblocks. They demand that the prison administration ask the courts to give more consideration to house arrest and other intermediate sanctions. They also want the legislature to consider privatization of the prison.

You are the state’s prison system director. The governor’s office has asked that you prepare an immediate position paper for the chief executive setting forth a plan for dealing with this prison’s current situation.

Questions for Discussion

1. What are the critical issues that should be dealt with immediately?
2. How would you proceed to defuse the potential for a riot?
3. What would be your response to the suggestions for prison privatization and the use of intermediate sanctions?
4. What, if anything, might be done to address the concerns of the inmates? The staff?

II. A Corrections Futures Forum

Assume that your jurisdiction is planning a new weeklong futures-oriented program, “Leadership Forum for 2015,” which will bring together professionals from the business and governmental sectors. Topics to be discussed at the forum include a wide array of area issues, challenges, methods, and concerns. Assume further that you are a prison or probation/parole administrator. After applying for and being selected to attend this program, you are advised that you are to make a 60-minute presentation concerning your profession generally, as well as the future challenges facing your local corrections organization.

Questions for Discussion

1. Using some of the materials discussed in this book, how would you briefly explain your role as a chief executive of your agency to this group?
2. What are some of the important current themes and issues that you would take to the forum concerning a corrections administrator’s job to indicate its complexities and challenges?
3. How would you describe the changing nature of the corrections administrator’s role and the future issues and challenges of this position?

Part 5 Issues Spanning the Justice System

Chapter 12 Ethical Considerations

I. Setting Up Mr. Smith

Assume that the police have multiple leads that implicate Smith as a pedophile, but they have failed in every attempt to obtain a warrant to search Smith’s car and home, where evidence might be present. Officer Jones feels frustrated and, early one morning, takes his baton and breaks a rear taillight on Smith’s car. The next day he stops Smith for operating his vehicle with a broken taillight; he impounds and inventories the vehicle and finds evidence leading to Smith’s conviction on 25 counts of child molestation and possession of pornography. Jones receives accolades for the apprehension.

Questions for Discussion

1. Do Officer Jones’s ends justify the means?
2. What if he believes he is justified in “taking bad guys off the streets?”
3. What if he argues that he is correct in using this approach because he was molested as a child?
4. What constitutional issues are involved?

II. Burns Goes Ballistic

Officer Burns is known to have extreme difficulty relating to persons of color and others who are socially different from himself. This officer never received any sensitivity or diversity training at the police academy or within the department. His supervisor fails to understand the magnitude of the problem and has little patience with Burns. So, to correct the problem, the supervisor decides to assign Burns to a minority section of town so that he will improve his ability to relate to diverse groups. Within a week, Burns responds to a disturbance at a housing project where residents are partying noisily. He immediately begins yelling at the residents to quiet down; they fail to respond, so Burns draws his baton and begins poking residents and ordering them to obey his orders. The crowd immediately turns against Burns, who then has to radio for backup assistance. After the other officers arrive, a fight ensues between them and the residents. Several members of both sides are injured, and numerous arrests are made.

Questions for Discussion

1. How could the supervisor have dealt better with Burns’s lack of sensitivity?
2. What should the supervisor/administration do with Burns?
3. Are any liability or negligence issues present in this situation?

III. Justice in Jeopardy?

A municipal court judge borrows money from court employees, publicly endorses and campaigns for a candidate for judicial office, conducts personal business from chambers (displaying and selling antiques), directs other court employees to perform personal errands for him during court hours, suggests that persons appearing before him contribute to certain charities in lieu of paying fines, and requires court employees to act as translators for his mother’s nursery business.

Questions for Discussion

1. Which, if any, of these activities is unethical? Why?
2. Taken together, would these activities warrant the judge’s being disciplined? Removed from the office?

IV. Malice over Manners

You have been employed for 2 months as a corrections officer at a detention center with about 15 young offenders, most of whom have psychological problems. You are beginning to fit in well and to be invited to other staff members’ social functions. During today’s lunchtime, you are in the dining room and notice eight of the youths sitting at one table. One of them is an immature 18 years old whose table manners are disgusting. Today, he decides to pour mounds of ketchup over his meal, swirling it around his plate and then slurping it into his mouth. He then eats with his mouth open and spits the food across the table while talking. You, the other officers, and even other inmates are sickened by his behavior. A fellow officer, Tom, gets up and tugs the boy away from the table by his shirt collar. The officer sets the boy’s tray of food on the floor and orders him to get down on all fours next to it. “Your manners are disgusting,” Tom says. “If you are going to eat like a dog, you may as well get down on all fours like a dog; get down there and lick the food off the plate till it is clean.” Tom later tells you that he acted out of frustration and the desire to use a “shock tactic” to change the boy’s behavior.

Questions for Discussion

1. What, if anything, should you do in this situation?
2. Did Tom act professionally? Ethically?
3. Should you have intervened on the boy’s behalf?
4. What would you do about this incident if you were the superintendent of this institution and it was reported to you?

Chapter 13 Rights of Criminal Justice Employees

I. A Neanderthal Lives!

You are an administrator in a small minimum-security facility where the day shift is composed of four veteran male officers and one new female officer. The woman is a member of a minority, has a college degree from a reputable out-of-state university, and is married to a member of the armed forces. There have been recent reports from your supervisors of obscene and racially offensive remarks and drawings turning up in the female officer’s mailbox, but you have not seen any such materials, nor has the woman complained to you about such occurrences. Today, however, your day shift sergeant storms into your office with a piece of paper he says were just removed from a locker room wall. It shows a “stick-figure” woman and contains several racial slurs and comments to the effect that “women do not belong in this man’s business, and you should go back where you came from.” The woman saw this material, and the sergeant says she is now in the conference room, crying, and distraught.

Questions for Discussion

1. What would you do about this situation? Should you ignore it? Call the female officer to your office?
2. If you bring her in and she says that you should just leave the matter alone, should you pursue it?
3. If you determine which officer is responsible for these materials, what disciplinary action (if any) would you deem warranted? On what grounds?

II. At the Heart of the Matter

A police sergeant suffers a heart attack and undergoes a triple bypass operation. Now 4 years later, he takes and passes the written and oral examinations for lieutenant but is denied promotion solely because of his heart attack. The agency claims that because lieutenants can be assigned as shift commanders, they must be able to apprehend suspects and engage in high-speed pursuits. In truth, middle managers in the agency are rarely involved in situations requiring high levels of physical stress. The officer has exercised regularly and has had a strong performance record prior to and after his heart attack. Medical opinion is that his health is normal for someone of his age. The agency has adopted community policing, providing the opportunity for a manager to be assigned to one of several lieutenant positions that do not entail physical exertion. The sergeant sues the agency for violating provisions of the ADA.

Questions for Discussion

1. Is the sergeant “handicapped” within the meaning of the law?
2. Is the sergeant otherwise qualified for the position of lieutenant?
3. Was the sergeant excluded from the position solely on the basis of a handicap? Explain your answer.
4. Should the sergeant prevail in the suit? If so, on what grounds?i

iThis case study is based on Kuntz v. City of New Haven, No. N-90–480 (JGM), March 3, 1993. Kuntz prevailed, was promoted, and won back pay, demonstrating to the court that his possible assignment to field duties would not be dangerous to him, to other officers, or to the public.

Chapter 14 Special Challenges: Labor Relations, Liability, and Discipline

I. Lost Love—and a Lost Laborer?

A police officer, Blake, is dispatched to a domestic violence call; on his arrival, a woman runs out of the house screaming, “Help me! He is going to kill me!” Her right eye is swollen. She also tells the officer, “I have had it with his drinking and womanizing and told him to pack up his things and go. That is when he began beating me.”

You, a lieutenant, heard the call go out to Blake from Communications, but at shift’s end, you cannot find any offense report concerning the matter submitted by Blake. You ask Blake about the report, and he tells you that on entering the home he observed another officer, Carter, who works in your agency, who commented, “Thanks for coming out here, but things are cool now. She slapped me once, and I dealt with it. I admit I got a little out of hand, but it is under control. She is nothing but cheating, money-grubbing louse.” Blake admits that he purposely avoided completing a report, deciding to consider it “like an offsetting penalty in football” and to overlook the matter.

Questions for Discussion

1. What would you, as the lieutenant and shift commander, do about this situation?
2. Should you call the female victim, or Officer Carter, into your office for an interview?
3. What action should you take if you do bring them both in, separately, and they deny that the incident occurred?
4. Suppose that you bring the woman in and she indicates that she wants to drop the matter because “it has happened before”; do you pursue it?
5. If you determine that Blake is, in fact, culpable for not reporting the incident, what actions (if any) should you take? On what grounds?

II. Bicycle Blues in Baskerville

Baskerville has a population of about 100,000, with an ethnic composition of 52 percent Anglo, 38 percent African American, and 10 percent Latino. The police force, however, composed of 200 sworn officers, has only about 20 percent of women and minority officers. The city’s central business district has deteriorated since the opening of a new shopping mall on the outskirts of the city, and the chief of police is receiving pressure from the mayor and the governing board to reduce crime in the central business district—where the largest percentage of minorities and lower-income residents in the city resides. The chief of police receives a federal grant to implement a bicycle patrol unit composed of one sergeant and five patrol officers in the central business district. The Baskerville Police Association (BPA) is the certified collective bargaining agent for all police officers and police sergeants. The collective bargaining agreement has a seniority bidding clause for all shifts and certain designated job assignments, but the agreement does not include a bike unit. Therefore, the city attorney has advised the chief of police that he can select the five officers and one sergeant without complying with the collective bargaining agreement. The chief—under pressure from the city manager, mayor, and council to ensure that women and minority officers are given preference for these new assignments—knows that if he follows the collective bargaining agreement, only the most senior officers and sergeants, all older white males, have a chance of getting the assignments. The chief posts a notice stating that officers can apply for the new bike patrol unit but he will ultimately make the selection without regard to seniority. Several senior officers and sergeants then file a grievance with the BPA alleging that the chief has violated the agreement’s seniority bidding provisions. Next, several female and minority officers approach the BPA president and say that the association betrayed them by not upholding their right to gain these high-profile assignments. The local newspaper editorializes that the chief has made the right decision, if not legally, at least morally. If the dispute heightens, the chief of police knows that his job might be in jeopardy; conversely, the BPA president may face a recall election if he is perceived as letting the chief get away with violating the agreement—and also faces a divided membership if the BPA is perceived as fighting only for its older white male members.

Questions for Discussion

1. What are the key issues in this case?
2. What steps should be taken by the police chief and union leadership in response to this crisis?
3. Who are the key stakeholders in the situation, and what are their interests?
4. What options are available to the police leadership?

Chapter 15 Financial Administration

I. The Emptying Horn of Plenty

The chief of police in a small (20,000 population) city has seen nearly one-third of the agency’s officers leave in the last year. Budget cuts, attrition, and better salaries in other regional agencies have been the impetus for the departures. Furthermore, the city council is proposing a 15 percent cut in the police budget for the coming year. Citizens are already complaining about delays in police responses and about having to drive to the police department to make complaints or to file reports. The county sheriff has offered in the local newspaper to provide backup for the city when needed, but the chief of police believes the sheriff to be power-hungry and primarily motivated by a desire to absorb the city’s police force into his agency. Severe cutbacks have already been made in the Drug Abuse and Resistance Education and gang prevention programs, and other nonessential services have been terminated. A number of concerts, political rallies, and outdoor events—all of which are normally peaceful—will be held soon during the summer months, requiring considerable overtime; the chief’s view is that “It is better to have us there and not be needed than vice versa.” Federal grants have run out.

One of the chief’s staff suggests that the chief proposes to the city council a drastic reduction in the city’s parks, streets, or fire department budget, those monies being transferred to the police budget. The council, in turn, already wants to explore the possibility of hiring private security services for some events. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that violent crimes are increasing in the jurisdiction.

Questions for Discussion

1. What measures could the chief implement or propose to the council to slow or eliminate the resignations of sworn personnel?
2. How might the chief obtain more revenues or, alternatively, realize some savings for the department?
3. Should the chief go public with the idea of reducing budgets in the parks or other city departments?
4. How should the chief deal with the local sheriff’s offer?

II. The Tourist Trap

You are a veteran in a medium-sized police department, with the rank of major, and are often asked to consult with and assist in writing grants for smaller police agencies that are experiencing problems. The City of White Springs is a rural community of about 3,000 year-round residents. However, given that it is both a prime skiing and shopping location, during the summertime and Christmas holidays, the tourist population easily doubles that number on any given day. Normally, there are few crime or traffic problems, but during the past few years the growing number of local beer taverns and nightclubs has increased the incidence of alcohol-related problems—fighting, domestic violence, drunk driving, and so on. A small military base about 40 miles away has increasingly contributed to these problems. Your force of seven full-time and four part-time reserve officers is becoming strained and burned out during these peak times. More and more time is also spent with false burglar alarms, starting dead batteries, unlocking vehicles, and so on. There is no more money in the budget for additional hires, and the department’s $50,000 overtime budget has been exceeded the past 2 years, causing unhappy council members to dip into other municipal budgets to bail you out. The town’s charter requires that all members of the police force be graduates of the state police academy or trained by the department (for reserve officers).

Questions for Discussion

1. What are the major issues involved?
2. What are some possible solutions to the problems?



Ethical Dilemma Paper

Ethics refer to the moral principles that control the behavior of an individual or group. On the other hand, an ethical dilemma is a complicated situation that involves a mental conflict and was opting for one alternative often results in foregoing the other alternative. In ordinary day-to-day life, conflicts are somewhat inevitable due to the difference in morals, beliefs, conscience and people’s understanding of right and wrong as demonstrated in Newton’s case. Failure to correctly handle arising ethical issues in the workplace can lead to conflict in the entire organization, thus, affecting employee productivity and creating a negative work environment. This paper seeks to handle an ethical issue presented, that of Newton, a police officer who triggered concerns about individual liberty and First Amendment rights versus potential violation of workplace policies by having a naked women tattooed on one arm and a swastika on the other. The objective is to identify the best and appropriate way of solving this ethical dilemma.

            Firstly, a problem employee is often an honest, hardworking person who just does not seem to fit into the organization and consequently engages in disruptive behavior perhaps as a way of seeking attention (Whisenand & McCain, 2014). Such a person may be acting up due to problems in his personal life such as health issues, stress, depression, tiredness/fatigue, romantic/ marital issue or alcoholism (Thibault, Lynch, McBride & Walsh, 1998). In this case, Newton is a problem employee since he goes ahead and gets tattoos of a swastika and a naked woman without any qualm about potentially disrupting normal policing activities of which he plays a crucial role due to the association of these images with gang-related activities. This is also a problem situation as Newton’s disruptive behavior and outright cockiness, as seen in his sarcastic remarks of his ‘liberty’ and ‘right to expression’, may cause disharmony and loss of focus in the department. Even worse, his behavior may influence other officers to start doing the same thing.

            In the past, American police heads used to handle arising conflict situations by firing, warning or transferring the officer in question (Whisenand, 2014). However, this proved to be an ineffective method of handling ethical dilemmas as it resulted in loss of skilled manpower, demotivation of remaining staff and resentment of the police force by members of the public. Alternatively, a more modern an effective approach to this problem is to guide him on the effects of his actions rather than dismiss the ‘offending’ officer. I believe it is not very logical to take any disciplinary action against Newton. Instead, his boss should offer him guidance and counseling and try to influence change in his behavior. As a state police head, I would push for the setting up of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which would offer preventive and assistive counseling and at the same time work toward offering advice to affected employees regarding appropriate grooming behavior. I believe that as opposed to disciplinary action, this move will help Newton and other potential “offenders” to handle their personal issues better particularly while at the workplace (Whisenand, 2014).


            The suggested course of action would have several positive ramifications not only on Newton but also on the Police department as a whole. It would enable the department to inspire experienced personnel whose knowledge and insight might prove useful in future, it would also save the organization the financial costs of training and hiring another officer. Counseling and intervention makes the officer feel like he belongs to the workplace community and that he is not being condemned or cast out. Moreover, it projects a good image of the department to the civilians, and this makes enhances their level of cooperation with police officers. Most of all, counselling and intervention, as opposed to strict disciplinary action, is the humanitarian thing to do since we are prone to mistakes as humans.

            In conclusion, conflicts and ethical dilemmas are a normal part of everyday life. It is our responsibility to select conflict-handling approaches that promote unity and togetherness while simultaneously seeking to change the offender’s behavior. This will ensure a positive working environment, cohesion and integrity in the workplace, increased output and ultimately the achievement of the organization’s goals and objectives.


Thibault, E. A., Lynch, L. M., McBride, R. B. & Walsh, G. M. (1998). Proactive police management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Whisenand, P. M. & McCain, J. D. (2014). Managing police organizations (8th Ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Pearson Education.

Whisenand, P. M. (2014). Supervising police personnel: Strengths-based leadership (8th Ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Pearson Education.

Get a 20 % discount on an order above $ 20
Use the following coupon code :
Our Services:
  • Essay
  • Custom Essays
  • Homework Help
  • Research Papers
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Assignment
  • College Papers
  • Powerpoint Presentation
  • Dissertation
  • Thesis Paper
  • Dissertation
  • Editing Services
  • Review Writing
  • Lab Report
  • Book Report
  • Article Critique
  • Case Study
  • Coursework
  • Term Paper
  • Personal Statement
Order a customized paper today!