Ethical Dilemma in Policing and Incarceration Rate in the United States
The analysis of ethics in policing has remarkably widened over the past few decades. Media houses continually report numerous cases of the police barbarism, corruption, and racial bias. There are many claims in the American courtrooms that concern the police brutality and ethnic discrimination (Alexander, 2010). However, analysts emphasize three significant issues that have shaped the ethic position in the national policing. They include the manner of policing, the police as an organization, and the police culture. The style of policing entails the way, in which the officers fight and strive to eliminate the crime in the society. Besides, it includes the approach, in which the police manage lawbreakers. Some police officers rely on racial prejudice and corruption in apprehending criminals. Such an attitude causes the ongoing ethical dilemma in the police. The police as an entity is another issue that has shaped the ethics in the American policing. The society is recognizing policing as either an occupation or a bureaucracy. Professions consider ethical principles and service ideal the basis for identifying between specialization and authority. It is fundamental to the assessment of police ethics. Police culture focuses on official guidelines, regulation, and traditions of the entity. Issues of corruption in the police force are some of the ethical dilemmas that play a key role in the United States (U.S.) incarceration rates. One in every 35 adults is under some form of penitentiary control, either prison or trial (American Civil Liberties Union, 2015). Moreover, the choices made by the policy makers aimed at promoting the asperity of prison sentences contribute to the increasing levels of incarceration. In such a manner, the ruling of police officers to maintain street-level detention of drug dealers in the War on Drugs increases the prison population (Alexander, 2010). For the recent years, the rise in the confinement rates has been dominant due to mass arrests by the police force. This paper outlines the police ethical dilemma concerning the high rates of incarcerations, particularly in the US. It elaborates on how the police decisions increase the prison population. For these reasons, the essay focuses on negative ethical controversies in policing with the aim to develop a clear understanding of the increasing rates of imprisonments in the US.
The behavior of the police officers relies on racial prejudice. A different handling of the minorities in the American criminal justice structure starts at the initial level of the system itself. It considers the inspection of any suspicious illegal activity by law enforcement officers. There have been reports that the police force unjustifiably targets minority races as the potential criminal suspects (“Chapter one: Race and the police,” 2015, para. 2). Usually, police officers regard these populations as the potential executors of various illegal activities even before performing a thorough investigation. Consequently, these races face numerous wrongful charges, and the police sentence them to prison. As a result, a decision to convict suspicious individuals is not based on sufficient evidence but rather on the race. This situation generates a significant ethical dilemma concerning the obligation of police agents in the United States. Every police officer needs to implement all responsibilities impartially without any racial favoritism or any other subjective motivations. The police frequently adopt strategies against minorities that make the society question the credibility and impartiality of the U.S. police agents. This fact explains why the prison population consists of the high number of black-Americans in contrast to the whites (Whitehead, 2012, para. 8).
The police departments rely on potential circumstances in determining crimes. For instance, the police regularly patrol residential areas occupied by minority races looking for the activities they consider illegal. They stop moving vehicles for traffic offenses in a hope of catching more criminals (Epp & Maynard-Moody, 2014, para. 7). Surprisingly, they choose the cars driven by the Blacks or people of Hispanic origin in contrast to the white natives. Increasing statistical data indicate that the Black motorists are regularly pulled over by the traffic police (Epp & Maynard-Moody, 2014, para. 8). Consequently, the minority representatives are more likely to be caught in illegal activities as opposed to the white drivers. A research performed by the University of Kansas indicates that the Blacks under 25 years old has a 28 percent likelihood of being pulled over for an investigatory cause (Epp & Maynard-Moody, 2014, para. 8). Similarly, a young white person possesses the probability of only 12.5 percent of being stopped by traffic detectives, a 7 percent possibility of a young white lady. It indicates that the police focus their investigatory stops on the minority races simply because the last are more likely to get in other criminal offenses, including drug trafficking. It is a compelling ethical controversy that affects police departments all over the US. People are convicted and sentenced to prison. This fact has contributed to the increasing number of incarcerations in the country.
The misuse of discretion privileges accorded to the police by the government is another key behavior that determines the ongoing detention rates. According to the Constitution, the police are granted the authority to deprive citizens of their freedom by arresting them. They have a fundamental right to use force in the execution of their police responsibility, even the lethal effort under certain circumstances. Consequently, the police is granted unique jurisdiction by the Constitution, and this power is supposed to be utilized for enforcing the law and safeguarding the public (Alexander, 2010). The authority and authorization of the police departments are practiced within the discretionary sphere accorded to them. However, the U.S. community policing has become just a common trademark. In some other states, it means more or less than providing a street-level police agent with sufficient rights to clean up the areas they patrol by employing whatever means necessary. Hence, the aspect of community policing may emphasize the quality of life policing that infuses a zero-tolerance strategy for insignificant breaches of the law (Wilson, 2006). The police action that focuses on the end justification of the means perpetually works. Nonetheless, the community policing is mostly targeting the minority races, such as Hispanic and Black population. The practical implication has empowered the police officers who encourage favoritism, biases, and animosity in the American law. This fact causes minorities to be convicted of mistaken crimes and promotes the high rates of incarceration in the US.
Corruption in police entities is another noteworthy issue that increases the jailing rates. Most American police officers misuse their power in order to accomplish personal gain without considering the forthcoming legal repercussions. The U.S. penal system has undergone significant amendments. The states are attempting to save financing by outsourcing prison functions to private institutions. Still, the U.S. criminal structure, system of justice, is being regularly changed by more erroneous and dangerous forms of mass retribution that rely on expediency and profits (Whitehead, 2012, para. 2). The cash-impoverished states face a challenge of providing security, food, housing, and medical health to approximately six million Americans. In contrast, for greedy companies such as Corrections Corps of America (CCA) and the GEO organization, it is a $70 billion cash cow (Whitehead, 2012, para. 5). The CCA has drafted an offer to the U.S. prison representatives of 48 states bidding them to purchase the civil confinements at a considerable to the state rates (Whitehead, 2012, para. 4). In return, the surprise is that penitentiaries would have to have a minimum of one thousand beds. The state would have to regulate a 90-percent occupancy levels in the privately operated prisons for a minimum of 20 years (Whitehead, 2012, para. 5). In this context, under the disguise of fighting crimes, police departments can fatten their pockets and fill the prisons of their corporate investors. It explains why American police officers are brutal to the minority groups in combating crimes. Consequently, immigrants are profoundly affected; approximately 2.5 million people have passed through the immigration detention scheme since early 2003 (Whitehead, 2012, para. 9).
In conclusion, ethical controversies and detention rates are a primary concern in the contemporary American society. Police departments determine the high number of minority races representatives in the prison population. The issues of corruption, brutality, and racial prejudices are playing a fundamental role in determining whom to arrest. The police culture has been exceedingly essential in establishing the level of misconduct in the law enforcement agencies. A modern culture that allows for cynicism and utilization of extreme force under general circumstances is contributing to the American high incarceration rates. The police have comprehensive discretionary powers that can be used to carry either beneficial or ill motives. The discretionary authority of police agents is to rely on relevant ethical standards in apprehending suspects. Their misuse of force is a significant area, in which the moral debate is coming up against the experience of the police work. Although there are rules and regulations, the police will ultimately determine in their discretion the power to be employed. Their choices are determined by the police lifestyle and ancient certainty that the force is utilized as a matter of course. In the case these ethical dilemma is not resolved, queries on a convenient level of force will always be raised, precisely where endless cases of brutality and assault occur. The police organizations and culture are to be evaluated in order to determine the corruption level and any misconduct. Appropriate ethical standards are to be adopted by the police force, to facilitate the war on drugs and crime. With these measures, the American population will feel secure, and the fight against crime will rely on pure justice.