Criminal Justice System: How to Stop Police Corruption


Throughout this how to stop police corruption essay the author/writer will be talking about the ethical standpoint throughout the criminal justice system. It will jump into what ethics is and how the criminal justice system would become corrupt without the ethical aspect. Following that, the paper will be talking about police corruption and how police officers abuse their power. It will then go into integrity and professionalism. It will talk about how law enforcement should focus on the way they portray integrity and should have employees attend trainings. It will also state that they are attempting to hire well-rounded, ethical people into their departments. Lastly, it will discuss a situation in which an employee of any job in the criminal justice system is offered a free meal because they are out there protecting them. It will state what they do in the situation and why.


Throughout the criminal justice system, you see police officers abusing their power and thinking they are above the law. Having a badge on does not mean police officers or anyone in the criminal justice system get to do what they want. Every different job in the criminal justice system has a set of rules that they must follow or there will be consequences. Police officers should act in a proper manner and should always be honest. They should not think above the law and should always put their community before themselves. There is right from wrong and they need to know what exactly that is. The jobs given to each section of the criminal justice system are there to help protect and serve the people of the community and the country. They are there to make sure the citizens feel safe when they are out and when they are doing things around their neighborhood and town. The citizens want the officers to act like professionals and to be involved in the community. It makes the citizens feel welcomed and loved when they are involved.

However, they are there to do their job and to follow all the rules their department has and the state/ country. With that being said, there are code of ethics that they must follow to keep them from corrupting the system and take advantage of power. Police and any form of law enforcement is supposed to work with integrity and professionalism. If they want to be taken seriously and want to protect their community, they will do so. No matter what job you are doing in the criminal justice system, you must be fair, equal, and work with what is right. Ethics, corruption, integrity, and professionalism are all key factors that must be taken seriously and effectively. Ethics, integrity, and professionalism all lead to preventing corruption. These are all aspects of the criminal justice system that can always be improved.


Ethics are moral principles that are attributed by a person's behavior and actions. The purpose of ethics is to make certain that someone or a group is following the rules that are given. Taking responsibility and making certain decisions comes along with ethics. People need to make sure that their actions are reasonable and are in the best interest of an individual. Ethics are principles that ensure that justice is served while respecting all involved parties’ civil rights. Without an ethical system, the criminal justice system could become corrupt and not right. People would be able to persuade or buy off someone’s decision. A police officer typically has a code of ethics they have to follow by. The code of ethics prohibits his/her from threatening a suspect and using physical force when unnecessary. Everyone in the criminal justice system, such as attorneys, lawyers, judges, and even the jury are all expected to follow the code of ethics. If they do not follow the code of ethics, then there will be a penalty, and something will be put into effect. As for now, there is no way to determine if someone is completely following the code of ethics.

An ethical issue is choosing whether or not letting someone off with a warning or arresting them. An example of this is a drunk driver. A police officer does not know if he should let him off with a warning and hope that he does not do it again or he arrests him right there which is the legal aspect of this. This is an ethical issue because in the end one group or another is going to end up getting hurt or disappointed. Police officers have a hard job and it makes it difficult for them to determine which is the right decision to make. They want to let people off with warnings but if they keep doing that, they will make it a habit and that will not benefit the criminal justice system. It is crucial to keep an ethical view when encountering every crime and every situation you encounter. A police officer should never doubt their ethical views and how the department sees ethics.


Corruption is the act of breaking or going against the law as well as being dishonest when having power. There have been numerous corruptions in the criminal justice system, especially from police officers. Corruption is a significant factor in human rights violations. Corruption is also the dishonest behavior by those in positions of power. Corruption is seen all throughout the criminal justice system. There have been cases where suspects try and bribe police officers and/or judges to persuade them to help make the cause less. There are four main types of corruption that are seen today in the criminal justice system. The four types of corruption are bribery, political interference, sexual favors, and favoritism. These are not all of the types of corruption but the ones we see most of. To help prevent corruption there have been different types of ideas to consider. One of them is simply hiring good ethical people to do the job. Hiring new employees and having their training officers focus on integrity and ethics will only help lessen police corruption. Along with that there have been ethics-based trainings that are to help prevent corruption. The trainings are there to help the new police officers know what is right from wrong and to swing them away from corruption. Putting in a certain number of hours they need to do would be an idea to consider to hopefully help more police corruption. It is important to stop police corruption because if we let the criminal justice system be corrupt it will only make our system and country worse and even not safe.

An example of police corruption is the Philadelphia police officer who pleaded guilty in police corruption. It is said to be one of the worst police corruption in the last decade. The police officer and a few others were behind a drug scandal. The police officers would break into houses and take things to sell. Not only did they do that, but they also would sell drugs that suspects had. The police officer Rayam was chasing a suspect who dropped nine ounces of cocaine and later on planned to sell it instead of placing it into the evidence room. The officers abused their power by engaging in this activity and bringing drugs back onto the Baltimore streets. Baltimore has already had a bad reputation of police corruption and this had made it worse. Corruption will always be a part of departments but if it can be reduced to a lesser percentage then that is what should happen.


Integrity is the opposite of corruption. Integrity is the act of being honest and following moral principles. Integrity is what we want police officers to focus on. Integrity is one with little or no misconduct or corruption. It is important to find people who are honest and follow the rules they are given. Typically, people who work with integrity are genuine people and they want to do the right thing no matter the circumstance. They are not people who are going around and being corrupt. If a police force is teaching and working with integrity it is more likely that the new police officers will do so as well. Maintaining integrity is not the easiest but if you prioritize accountability, equal treatment, inspections, and many more than that police force will maintain integrity. Working with integrity will rub off on the fellow officers in the department.

Improving integrity is a goal the criminal justice system should have. To help improve police integrity law enforcement agencies should give consequences to minor offenses so police officers know there will also be discipline for major offenses. Law enforcement agencies have already taken a step into improving integrity. There are trainings they have them go to that focus on ethics, improving how they are hiring, and keeping records of people and who they are as a person. Focusing on integrity will help the criminal justice system be more efficient and a well-rounded place of honesty. Being able to help protect the people you love and the community that looks up to you, you should want to work with integrity.


Professionalism is the act of keeping up with the standards of a professional and acting like one. Including professionalism to the police force will make the environment and the community to take them seriously and to feel safe when they are out. The community will look up to them and no they take their job seriously. A police officer acting professional is one who puts others at ease and does not compete for the title of who is the smartest person in the room. Looking and acting professionalism will increase the way the community looks at you and how they will treat you.

With that being said, the importance of professionalism and acting professional is because the community looks up to those in higher positions. It is important to act professional even when you are not on the job. People will still know who you are and acting professional will only give them courage that their community is being protected. Looking professionalism is also a key factor. When on the job you should be clean-shaven, attire on proper and neat, and looking your best. You want to be taken seriously and looking put together is a step closer to that. Another aspect of professionalism is how you act in certain situations. You want to keep your cool and not burst in rage when in a tough situation. Police officers should always act with proper manner and make sure their suspects feel safe and not feel like they have a threat. Professionalism is the basics of how you should act, how you should put yourself out to be, and how you should present yourself.

What Do You Do Next?

When in the given situation, as a police officer, you should not take the free meal. It is unethical and not right. You are doing your job to protect your people and that does not mean you should be rewarded. In the Boston Police Department under section 21 and 22 of the rules it says you shall not solicit or take any gift under any circumstances. You should not abuse your power in that way, and it will not only make you look bad, but your whole department. If you were to take the free meal, it could become a habit every time you are out to eat. That is not what the department wants. They do not want their workers to look like they are taking advantage of what they signed up. They want to look like a well-mannered department who is honored to help protect the community. That is their job, to protect not to take gifts from anyone.

Just because they are doing their job does not mean they get to be promoted and honored with free food. There are other people out there saving lives and they do not get that gratuity. It is unethical to take advantage of your power and job to get free stuff. You do not want to be known as that police officer who takes every free meal he or she can get. Depending on your department you may be able to but in the end you should not.

Integrity also follows under this situation they are put in. Integrity is being honest and doing the right thing. That is exactly what they should be doing when offered any type of gratuities or solicitations. Moral principles follow under integrity and has an effect on this situation. You are human, you work, you have a family, and you go out to eat occasionally, you have moral principles and that includes paying your tab for when you get food. You want to look like a good person and not someone who is abusing their power.

In the end, you should not take the free meal. It will only make you look like a greedy, dishonest, and unethical person. It is recommended that you do not take the free meal and that you should pay. There may be consequences if you take it, such as being fired, being frowned upon, and even being reprimanded. So, the police officer should be a good man or woman and pay for what they get. It will make you look like a better person and will let people know you are doing this because it is your job to do so.


The criminal justice system will not always be perfect but that is what it strives to be. The criminal justice system wants to make sure that no one is doing what they are not supposed to be doing. They want to make sure that everyone is being treated fairly and that there is equality amongst all. The code of ethics are rules that are to be followed and under no circumstances should police officers be corrupt. Every person in the criminal justice system should always work at their best and should put in their full, honest effort into keeping everyone safe. The criminal justice system along with every law enforcement wants honest people and professional people. They want their fellow peers to work with integrity and to always be equal. They do not want employees who will abuse their power and think they are above the law. They are there to serve and protect. That is their duty to do so. With ethical codes, integrity and professionalism the system should be at its peak. They all play an important factor in keeping the system honest. A corrupt system is a dishonest system and that is not what we need. Every aspect of ethics, integrity, and professionalism plays an important role in keeping the criminal justice system corrupt free.


  • Chen, J. (2019, November 18). Corruption. 
  • Huber, A., Aruna, Lisa, Hafsa, & Nichols, T. (n.d.). Corruption is a significant factor in human rights violations in many criminal justice systems. 
  • Kramer, L. (2019, May 06). Why Is Ethics Important in Criminal Justice? 
  • Police Integrity and How to Improve It. (n.d.). 
  • Papachristou, L. (n.d.). US: Ex-cop Pleads Guilty in Police Corruption Scandal. 
  • Scharbatke-Church, C., & Barnard-webster, kiely. (2017). Understanding Corruption in Criminal Justice as a Robust and Resilient System: An analysis process using systems thinking tools.
  • Police Corruption: An Analytical Look into Police Ethics. (2011, May 01). 
  • Shults, J. (2013, October 10). What does it mean for an officer to act professionally? 
  • Boston Police Department Rules and Procedures Rule 102. (2003, February 11). The conduct and general rights and responsibilities of department personnel- amended. 
10 October 2022
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