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Criminal Justice Ethics

  1. Jeffrey Reiman

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee042

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Reiman, J. 2013. Criminal Justice Ethics. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


Criminal justice ethics is a subdiscipline of ethics that explores the nature, justification, and practice of criminal justice. It investigates the role of the criminal law within society (see Criminal Law), the moral limits on what behaviors can be appropriately criminalized, the proper governmental response to criminal activities, and the unique ethical issues facing agents of the criminal justice system: legislators, police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens and guards, parole and probation officers. These issues are tied together by the fact that they all involve the use of coercion, and thus raise profound questions about individual liberty and social authority (see Authority).


  • government, politics, and law;
  • legal and political;
  • normative ethics;
  • politics;
  • punishment