Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Research

Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Research.


Until the end of the 1970s, the research process was largely unregulated. This lack of regulation allowed some scientists to either fail to consider or ignore the ethical implications of their research and to carry out horrendous experiments. For example, the U.S. Public Health Service funded a study known as the Tuskegee Experiment, which started in the 1920s and continued well into the 1970s. This study was designed to examine the progression of syphilis in poor, urban African-American males. None of the subjects were told they had syphilis, and some were treated with placebos even though a cure for this disease was available. Since that time, however, significant safeguards have been put in place to prevent these types of ethical violations. Today, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are responsible for evaluating ethical issues that might surface, especially those concerned with the protection of human subjects prior to the commencement of a research project. Multiple safeguards ensure that many of the ethical violations that might have occurred in the past are now prevented.

To prepare:

  • Recall the research problem you chose in Week 1
  • Identify one ethical issue that is relevant to that research problem.
  • Consider how you would address this ethical issue using ethical standards from the Code of Ethics of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS).

Post a brief description of an ethical issue in criminal justice research generally or related to the research problem you identified in Week 1. Then explain how you might address it using ethical standards from the ACJS Code of Ethics.

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