The Code of Ethics in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
In any organization, the code of ethics is an extremely important document. The purpose of the code of ethics is to outline the core values to which the organization employees are expected to adhere during the working process.
The code of ethics presents guidance for the ethically appropriate behaviors and choices that should be made in order to resolve complicated workplace situations where values are in conflict, and the outcomes depend on decisions made by the people involved.
This especially applies to the kinds of organizations that work with people. My specialization is prisons, parole, and corrections in the state of Texas. As a result, the organization selected for this paper is the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
This organization adheres to an elaborate code of conduct and code of ethics. Both documents can be found online for the discussion of ethical philosophy and the analysis of standards from the perspective of various theories. In this paper, two of such standards will be chosen and analyzed in alignment with applicable ethical theories. In addition, a brief summary of the personal philosophy of ethics will be presented.
In order to ensure that its employees follow and maintain high professional standards of behavior in the workplace, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
(TDCJ) It provides detailed guidance in the form of its code of conduct and code of ethics. Moreover, to make sure that the employees are fully aware of the standards of behaviors needed while they are on duty, the TDCJ is dedicated to the thorough establishment and popularization of the published versions of codes of ethics and conduct that include guidance as to the kinds of actions that are prohibited and the ones that are expected and encouraged (Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 2015).
In addition, committed to their objectives in making the codes of conduct and ethics clear and comprehensible to the employees, the TDCJ is also dedicated to answering all the relevant questions and providing responses in written form (Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 2015).
The seriousness with which the organization treats its ethical philosophy is admirable and is dictated by its professional field where ethical conduct is the key to protecting the rights of both workers and clients.
Code of Ethics Standards Discussion
The first standard that can be discussed in terms of its alignment with ethical theories is presented in the TDCJ Code of Ethics in the section entitled “Standards of Conduct.” Namely, the standard number three under the “Employee shall not” subheading covers the workers’ integrity to their service and organization, as well as their professional duties and judgment.
In particular, the standard prohibits the employees from accepting other employment or compensation or becoming engaged in the form of business or charity that potentially could be expected to influence the workers’ professional judgment and integrity by means of impairing them (Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 2015).
Evaluating the additional professional activities that could result in this effect, the employees are expected to rely on reason and critical thinking in order to assess and predict the likely consequences.
This standard of the TDCJ code of ethics and conduct could be associated with the theory of consequentialism that is based on the determination of the nature of an act in correlation with its outcomes. In particular, the selected standard says that the employees must not engage in any business or charity activities that would be likely to impair the professional performance of the workers in their primary workplace.
In that way, it is possible to note that faced with an opportunity to accept other employment, the workers that adhere to the TDCJ code of ethics are to take into account the reasonable expectations from the new business activity and consider the potential consequences of the choice to engage in them.
In other words, the theory of consequentialism, obligating the workers to provide a careful evaluation of their integrity choices, and their consequences lie at the basis of this standard.
The second standard chosen for the discussion is presented in the subsection entitled “AcceptanceofCertainBenefitsProhibited.” This subsection is dedicated to the description of an attitude toward bribery that is expected from the TDCJ employees, and the selected standard is put under part A of the subsection.
To be more precise, this particular standard requires that the employees refrain from accepting any kind of benefits for the performance of their official duties or the use of their professional powers in someone’s favor (Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 2015).
In that way, the basis of the adherence to this standard is the employee’s strong integrity to their duty that is expected to guide them toward making ethical choices and decisions regardless of the potential opportunity to receive benefits for favoring other people.
Differently put, this standard of the TDCJ code of ethics and conduct could be associated with the theory of deontology. In particular, this theory covers what can be referred to as duty-based ethics, where the quality of actions is valued over the outcomes produced by the actions.
In other words, if the primary value was placed on the outcome of the action, then the employees would be advised to act in their own favor and pursue the decisions and choices that would provide them with the highest level of benefit.
However, according to the selected standard, the professional duty of the employees has to prevail over personal benefits and driver the impartial attitude and objectivity of TDCJ workers. Consequently, it is possible to make a conclusion that this requirement can be aligned with the theory of deontology.
Brief Summary of Personal Philosophy of Ethics
As a professional, I adhere to the principle of remaining ethical at all costs in order to avoid getting in trouble and having to suffer the negative outcomes of the breach of ethics. I am fully aware that in most situations, staying ethical refers to making complicated choices that do not always result in positive outcomes for all the sides involved.
At the same time, following the code of ethics helps make sound and fair choices dictated by the right actions and avoid wrong decisions that can protect the actors, as well as their organizations from developing a bad reputation and losing trust.
This is why I prefer to stay ethical even in the most complicated cases and develop emotional maturity, strength, resilience, and critical thinking that would guide me through such situations and allow keeping my judgment objective and unimpaired by the chances of personal benefits.
I believe that goods and benefits earned in an unethical manner are unworthy of the risks related to the potential damage to one’s professional and personal reputation.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice.(2015). Texas Department of Criminal Justice ethics policy.
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