For example if a correctional officer have to use force to subdue a inmate, does he use excessive force or the least amount necessary, as it will be difficult for a outsider to determine if the officer have acted ethically, but the officer himself will know if he have acted in good faith or abusive. Correctional professionals are also required to keep the inmates' personal information and reasons for incarceration confidential even though this may pose a danger to other inmates.
So the dilemma in corrections can be seen as decisions and actions that needs to be taken in order to facilitate due process of rehabilitation, and in certain circumstances doing good will result in bad consequences, in others implementing negative or bad will have positive results. This correctional professionals have to make ethical decisions each day, facing dilemmas that goes against there morals, believes or value system. This may impede on their ability to make certain decisions or implement certain actions that could have resulted in a positive outcome or prevented a negative outcome. To be able to propose an ethical approach that can be used by correctional professionals we first need to evaluate the current system in use.
In the world today many ethical systems are used in several unrelated fields such as business, environment, animal rights, medical, technological and criminal. In the criminal justice system Normative Ethics is the fundamental system used for making decisions. The idea behind Normative Ethics is that persons should act morally and take reasoning into account when making decisions or implementing actions. "Essentially, ethics, in prescribing certain standards of conduct, gives us a way of making choices in situations where we are unsure about how to act," (Cindy Banks, 2002, p7). Within the Normative Ethics system the Utilitarian Principals seems to apply most fittingly to correctional personal. Within the utilitarian concept the Rule Utilitarianism aligns with their responsibility and functions, and the Harm Principal to their behaviour.
"Rule Utilitarianism: An act is right if and only if it is required by a rule that is itself a member of a set of rules, the acceptance of which would lead to greater good for society than any available alternative.
Harm Principle: Society is justified in coercing the behavior of an individual in order to prevent her or him from injuring others; it is not justified in coercing her or him simply because the behavior is deemed immoral or harmful to herself or himself." (John Cleese, 2005).
Even with this ethical system it is not always clear what action is the correct one, as when a person is facing a dilemma where an unmoral action will result in a positive outcome. People's value system they developed normally guides their ethical behaviour. Some of these values are; respect, responsibility, trust, truth, courage, faith, dependence, interdependence, etc. So how will a correctional professional be able to make sure his or her behaviour is ethical, even when facing a difficult dilemma
Ethical Approach for Correctional Professionals
Every person have to make ethical decisions from day to day, just deciding to help or not to help a old lady over the street is a ethical decision. A person can also decide not to make a decision