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PHIL 325 Criminal Justice Ethics

Do criminal justice professionals have to meet a higher moral standard in their behavior as professionals than that of ordinary persons? Is it ever right for a criminal justice professional to "give a break" to a fellow professional? Should criminal justice professionals report clear moral violations of their fellow professionals? This course examines a range of moral dilemmas that criminal justice professionals are likely to face as they attempt to perform the duties of their office. Using both moral theory and detailed case examples from the criminal justice system, students learn to apply moral principles and concepts in a given situation to resolve these situations in a satisfactory ethical manner.


4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 1, 1998 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Compare and contrast major moral theories.
  • Focus most acutely on the centrality of justification for claims made in these accounts.
  • Apply, at an advanced collegiate level, the resulting understandings to an analysis of the moral dilemmas inevitable in central issues facing members of the criminal justice community.
  • Assess case studies, using various accounts developed in the course, to analyze issues such as whether criminal justice professionals have to meet a higher moral
  • Use the work of the course to reflect on personal beliefs and attitudes about central issues, and to construct ways, as a criminal justice professional, to act on these beliefs.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Goal 9: Ethical and Civic Responsibility

  • Examine, articulate, and apply their own ethical views.
  • Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues.
  • Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues.
  • Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.
  • Identify ways to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.