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Discretion, Community, and Correctional Ethics


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Some two million Americans are in jail or in prison. Except for the occasional exposZ, what happens to them is hidden from the rest of us. Is it possible to develop and instill a professional ethic for prison personnel that, in partnership with formal regulatory constraints, will mediate relations among officers, staff, and inmates, or are the failures of imprisonment as an ethically-constrained institution so deeply etched into its structure that no professional ethic is possible? The contributors to this volume struggle with this central question and its broader and narrower ramifications. Some argue that despite the problems facing the practice of incarceration as punishment, a professional ethic for prison officers and staff can be constructed and implemented. Others, however, despair of imprisonment and even punishment, and reach instead for alternative ways of healing the personal and communal breaches constituted by crime. The result is a provocative contribution to practical and professional ethics.

Chapter 1 Foreword
Chapter 2 Preface
Chapter 3 1 Professionalizing Incarceration
Chapter 4 Response: The Shimmer of Reform: Prospects for a Correctional Ethic
Chapter 5 2 The Possibility of a Correctional Ethic
Chapter 6 Response: The Case for Abolition and the Reality of Race
Chapter 7 3 Prison Abuse: Prisoner-Staff Relations
Chapter 8 Response: Correctional Ethics and the Courts
Chapter 9 4 Health Care in the Corrections Setting: An Ethical Analysis
Chapter 10 Response: First, Do No Harm
Chapter 11 Response: Brokering Correctional Health Care
Chapter 12 5 Ideology into Practice/Practice into Ideology: Staff-Offender Relationships in Institiutional and Community Corrections in an Era of Retribution
Chapter 13 Response: Moral Reckoning and the Social Order of the Prison
Chapter 14 Response: The Path of Least Resistance: Sexual Exploitation of Female Offenders as an Unethical Corollary to Retributive Ideology and Correctional Practice
Chapter 15 6 Management-Staff Relations: Issues in Leadership, Ethics, and Values
Chapter 16 Response: The Ethical Dilemmas of Corrections Managers: Confronting Practical and Political Complexity
Chapter 17 Additional Resources
Chapter 18 Indexes
Chapter 19 About Contributors

In this book, John Kleinig and Margaret Leland Smith, two well-known and insightful thinkers in the criminal justice ethics field, offer readers an exciting look at cutting-edge issues in correctional ethics. Contributions to this edited volume are first-rate and highlight the moral dilemmas faced by society, correctional personnel at all levels, and by those who are sentenced under American criminal law today. This excellent book misses nothing; with topics ranging from a discussion of whether a workablecorrectional ethics is even possible, to a consideration of moral issues involving gender and race...

Discretion, Community, and Correctional Ethics has a refreshingly large sense of the terrain of correctional ethics—something all too frequently absent from texts on professional ethics. Questions and qualms about the moral justification of incarceration and about the very possibility of 'correctional ethics' are raised from the start and provide the continuing backdrop against which specific issues—health care behind bars, sexual exploitation of female prisoners, staff-management relations, and others—are discussed in intelligent and illuminating ways. Among the authors are correctional practitioners and academics from a wide variety of disciplines. In my view, this is how professional ethics ought to be addressed...

Both collectively and singularly, the voices heard in this volume remind us that correctional practice cannot be reduced, as it often is these days, to antiseptic considerations of efficiency and effectiveness. The authors illuminate that the core challenge of the correctional enterprise is to act ethically—to maintain an abiding respect for humanity in the face of daunting day-to-day circumstances. Readers will be appropriately provoked to question their easy acceptance of current correctional practicesand moved to envision how an evolving correctional ethic might guide us toward a new penology that is uplifting to both keepers and the kept...

Product Details

  • Title : Discretion, Community, and Correctional Ethics
  • Authors:
    • Kleinig, John
    • Smith, Margaret Leland
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • ISBN: 9780742577138

John Kleinig is professor of philosophy, and director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics, at Jon Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Margaret Leland Smith is adjunct professor, and senior researcher at the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.


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