Syllabus for PHI-383



This course provides an in-depth analysis of the ethical principles and standards of conduct relevant for those working in law enforcement, the court system, and corrections. Through the use of published material and case studies, this course examines traditional and nontraditional criminal justice practices such as fidelity to office, discretion, covert operations, deadly force, affirmative action, political involvement, plea bargaining, sentencing, incarceration, and the death penalty.



After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Explain ethical theories and ethical frameworks that are related to criminal justice.


CO2        Differentiate between deontological and teleological normative systems.

CO3        Analyze the development of the principles of justice and the notions of distributive justice, restorative justice, and retributive justice.

CO4        Examine racism in the criminal justice system.

CO5        Assess and recommend strategies for becoming an ethical professional within a modern criminal justice agency and evaluate the role of criminal justice within a modern, changing world.

CO6        Evaluate current policies and procedures in an ethical context concerning law enforcement agencies and officials, including use of force, informants, corruption, politics, deception, covert operations, discretion, the exclusionary rule, search and seizure, and evidence.

CO7        Evaluate current policies and procedures in an ethical context concerning the courts and court officials, including harm to others, attorney-client relations, complex organizations, juvenile justice, the insanity defense, conflicts of interest, plea bargaining, confidentiality, and the legislative function of the making of laws.

CO8        Evaluate current policies and procedures in an ethical context concerning the correctional system (probation, jail, prison, parole, and execution), including sentencing practices, incarceration ideologies, prisoner rights, rehabilitation, and capital punishment.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-1305577374

Required Article


Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice is a three-credit, online course consisting of four modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities.  The Module titles are listed below.

Course objectives covered in this module: CO1, CO2, CO3, CO5

Course objectives covered in this module: CO1, CO2, CO4, CO6

Course objectives covered in this module: CO1, CO3, CO4, CO7

Course objectives covered in this module: CO1, CO3, CO4, CO8


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take a proctored midterm examination and a proctored final examination. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

This course requires you to participate in nine graded discussion forums. There is an ungraded but required Introductions Forum in Module 1.

Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. For some forums, you are required to choose to discuss one question or a case among five choices. You are required to first declare which question or case you choose to answer in the forum so that you and your fellow students will answer different questions. Active participation is vital to your overall success in this course.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics folder of the course website is the online discussion forum rubric used to aid in the grading of all online discussion assignments.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete four written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.


For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam(s), refer to the study guide(s) available in the Examinations section of the course website.

You are required to take two proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the University's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the Examinations and Proctors section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course website) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Midterm Examination

You are required to take a proctored online midterm examination during Week 7 of the semester. The examination is a closed-book examination that covers material from Modules 1 and 2. The exam is two hours long and consists of essay questions only.

Final Examination

The final is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and covers all material assigned in Modules 3 and 4 of the course. The final examination consists of essay questions only.

Online exams are administered through the course website. Consult the Course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > Citing Sources.)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Edison State University. All rights reserved.