The Law Enforcement System: Ethical Issues

Topic: Law Enforcement
Words: 848 Pages: 2

The law enforcement system is crucial in society because it ensures communities are safe spaces for everyone to live. The system is made up of the judicial service, police service, and correction service. These sub-units work in unison to ensure the safety of communities. However, these sub-systems may be entangled in ethical issues. For instance, the correction system sometimes contracts private prisons to host prisoners. Similarly, given the safety issues surrounding the police service, police officer requires some level of protection. The paper herein discusses the ethical issues of private prisons, the protection of police officers using liability insurance, and the collection of DNA samples from criminals regardless of the weight of the crime.

Ethical Issues of Private Prisons

A number of ethical issues are associated with using private prisons. One of the critical issues is the potential for abuse and mistreatment of prisoners. Private prisons are often run for profit, which can create an incentive to cut costs, leading to the mistreatment of prisoners to save money. The result is substandard living conditions, inadequate medical care, and physical and sexual abuse. These conditions increase the prisoners susceptibility to chronic diseases, especially those associated with sexual abuse and poor hygiene (Montes, 2019). Prisoners may also be subjected to conditions such as DNA collection to prevent future criminal activities.

Another ethical issue is the lack of accountability and transparency in private prisons. Because they are privately run, there is often less oversight and accountability than in public prisons. This can make it challenging to ensure that prisoners are treated fairly and that their rights are respected (Metzner & Fellner, 2010). An independent institution’s lack of accountability and oversight may violate prisoners rights and privileges.

Finally, private prisons can create an incentive to incarcerate more people. Because they are run for profit, private prisons may be incentivized to lobby for stricter criminal laws and longer prison sentences to keep their beds full. This can lead to more people being incarcerated than is necessary, which is an ethical concern (Enns & Ramirez, 2018). Essentially, private prisons are in the business of making a profit rather than caring about the welfare of prisoners.

Private Insurance for Police Officers

One of the main reasons police officers should have private liability insurance is to protect them from lawsuits resulting from their use of force. Police officers are often required to use force in the performance of their duties, and this can sometimes result in injuries to suspects or bystanders. If a police officer is found to have used excessive force, they may be held liable for damages. Private liability insurance can help protect police officers from these lawsuits (Dohms-Harter, 2021). Overall, protecting the police is crucial to ensure the safety of society.

Police officers should have private liability insurance to protect them from lawsuits stemming from their decisions. Police officers often have to make split-second decisions that could result in them being sued for wrongful arrest, wrongful death, or other civil rights violations. Private liability insurance can help protect police officers from these lawsuits (Fields, 2022). Police, like any other citizen, should be protected by the government, which is only possible through liability insurance.

Collecting DNA Samples from Criminals

There are many reasons why collecting DNA samples from criminals is essential. One reason is that DNA can be used to solve crimes. If a crime scene contains DNA evidence, and the police have a DNA sample from a suspect, they can test the DNA to see if it matches the evidence from the crime scene (Maryville University, 2019). This can be a potent tool in solving crimes, and it can help to convict guilty people and exonerate innocent people.

Collecting DNA samples from criminals is that it can help to identify repeat offenders. If someone is convicted of a crime and their DNA is entered into a database, if they commit another crime and leave DNA evidence at the scene, the police can use the database to match the DNA and identify the offender (Machado & Granja, 2020). This can help to keep communities safe by making it more likely that repeat offenders will be caught and punished.

DNA databases can also be used to help solve cold cases. If a crime is committed and the DNA evidence is entered into a database, and then years later another crime is committed, and the DNA evidence from that crime matches the DNA from the cold case, the police can use that information to try to solve the cold case (Ling et al., 2020). This can bring closure to families waiting for justice for years.

In conclusion, it is important to cater to the welfare of everyone involved in the criminal system, including prisoners. Protecting police officers by using liability insurance is essential to ensure the police perform their duties diligently without hurting criminals or getting hurt in the line of service. Similarly, protecting prisoners by ensuring they live in safe and hygienic conditions prevents them from contracting diseases or abuse. Finally, collecting DNA samples from criminals is an effective way of deterring future criminal activities.


Dohms-Harter, E. (2021). Should Police Pay For Their Liability Insurance? This Law Professor Thinks So. Wisconsin Public Radio. Web.

Enns, P., & Ramirez, M. D. (2018). Privatizing Punishment: Testing Theories of Public Support for Private Prison and Immigration Detention Facilities. Criminology, 56(3), 546–573.

Fields, R. (2020). Police Officers Need Liability Insurance. Contexts, 19(2), 78–79.

Ling, S., Kaplan, J., & Berryessa, C. (2020). The Importance of Forensic Evidence on Decisions of Criminal Guilt. Science & Justice, 61(2).

Machado, H., & Granja, R. (2020). DNA Technologies in Criminal Investigation and Courts. Forensic Genetics in the Governance of Crime, 45–56.

Maryville University. (2019). DNA Profiling: How Is It Used in Criminal Justice? Maryville Online. Web.

Metzner, J. L., & Fellner, J. (2010). Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons: A Challenge for Medical Ethics. Human Rights Watch. Web.

Montes, A. N. (2019). Ethical Concerns About Private (and Public) Corrections: Extending the Focus Beyond Profit- Making and the Delegation of Punishment. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 088740341987085.

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