Each and every one of us has personal values. Every individual’s personal values are different from one another. One value can be important to one person and not important to other. Personal values are one of the most important characteristics of an individual. These values define who we actually are, what we believe in and where we come from. Personal values are the reflection of our identity. It determines what we desire from life, what we think is important to us, what are our priorities and what things are bad for us and needed to be avoided. Personal values are usually shaped by the environment which we live in and can be changed over time. There are many factors such as culture, religion, family, friends and the society we live in that help us to shape our values. Independence, gender equality, education, integrity, and respect are my top five personal values which are really important to me. These values have helped me to determine what I always wanted to be and who I am now.
The most important value to me is independence. Independence is the core value of being successful, happy, boosting our confidence and help us make the decision that is right for us. I feel that people should be independent of all the pressures and external forces especially women in our society. I grew up in a culture where women are taught to be dependent on their husbands. In some places, women are not able to go outside and work because their families think that a man should only be the earning hand in the family. Women can get whatever they want from their fathers and husbands. They should be the one to fulfill ladies needs in the family. According to me, everyone deserves independence regardless of their gender. Independence enhances our self-value and self-esteem. Having proper independence can help many women to get rid of the abusive relationships they have because then they will be able to survive on their own. The source of this value for me would be my personal experiences because as I stated before that I belong to a culture where some people don’t value independence as much as they need to because of the way they have been raised. I have seen many women with lack of independence and suffering abusive relationships because of this. I would consider this value as an instrumental value because it helps us to shape our identity.
The second most important value to me is gender equality which correlates with independence value on some level. I feel people should be treated equally everywhere regardless of their gender. I grew up in a society where women are restricted from doing many things which are completely normal for men to do. In some places women are not allowed to go to school, wear a certain type of clothes and taught to talk in a certain way otherwise they are seen as a shame on the society. On the other hand, men are encouraged to go to school, wear whatever they like and talk however they want to; nobody questions them about anything even if they are doing wrong. To me, it is really important to have gender equality because when men and women are being treated equally only then women can have complete freedom in the society. Gender equality is an important value to me because as being a female I have also experienced gender discrimination by society back home. I was told many times to not do the stuff just because I was a girl and it will seem inappropriate to society which was completely normal when a guy did the same thing. The source of this value for me would be based on my personal experiences and I would consider this value as an instrumental value because it helps to achieve women the things that they deserve.
The third important value to me is education. According to me, education is really important in order to gain knowledge and learn new skills. These skills help us to be successful in life. I think education really helps to shape our identity and it gives us a knowledge of the world around us. It develops a better perspective of looking at life. Education helps you to understand things in a certain way which would be hard to understand without it. Education is deeply connected with independence and equality. The more education you have; the more resources you have to be independent which can lead to equality in society. Not everyone has access to education everywhere especially females. I have seen many people who could not study because of poverty and lack of schools back home. To me, education is really important because it can lead to success and a better understanding of the world around us. It helps us to make better decisions based on the knowledge and skills we learn from it. Also, the family I grew in really gives importance to education. My parents have taught me that nothing is above education. If you have the education than you can survive in any situation because you have the resources and knowledge that can help in difficult situations. The source of this value would be my personal beliefs. I would consider this value as instrumental value as well because it helps us become more independent and achieve more knowledge and skills.
The fourth value that is important to me is Integrity. Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. In ethics, integrity is seen as the honesty and truthfulness of one’s actions. Integrity helps us to determine what are right actions and what are wrong actions which lead to the choices we make according to it. According to me, people who value integrity will never hurt anyone internationally because they know the difference between right and wrong and these are the types of people that every society needs. I value integrity because it helps a person to build an honest and morally good character. The source of this value would be my personal belief. According to me, integrity is an instrumental value because integrity helps us to achieve a moral character and higher reputation in society.
The fifth value that is important to me is respect. Everyone should be respected regardless of their gender, religion, race or economic status in the society. For example, just because someone is from different religion and his/her values and thoughts does not match with yours that doesn’t give you the right to disrespect. Another example would be disrespecting the poor or homeless people. Disrespectful behavior just produces conflict in the society. I have grown up in a culture where respect plays a very important role. My parents have taught me to respect our elders all the time even if their behavior is not good towards us. In my family, it is not allowed to talk back even when you think an elder person is wrong. But to me, respect is not limited to the age of the person. I feel we need to respect everyone regardless of their age. According to me, in order to get respect; you need to give respect first does not matter if you are younger than me or older. The source of this value for me would be my personal belief. I would consider this value as an instrumental value because it helps to achieve peace in homes and society.
Part two: Criminal Justice System Values
The summon bonum is defined as “highest goods” in ethics. It is also described as “the thought of as being an end in itself, and at the same time containing all other goods”.
The summon bonum is the singular and most ultimate end which human beings ought to pursue. The summon bonus or core type of justice of criminal justice is fundamental liberal justice. Fundamental liberal justice is the part of distributive justice. It is based on the principle of “justice or fairness as a distribution of benefits and burdens or responsibilities on basis of merit or desert not need”.
People are given what they deserve. Fundamental liberal justice promotes cooperative living under conditions of justice. According to this; people who break laws and are guilty should be punished. Their level of punishment depends on guilt.
Also in contrast, if people engage in behavior that benefits the society then they should be rewarded. Fundamental liberal justice principles rely on the concept of social contract in order to make sure that all people are living fair and equal life.
Social contract plays an important role in fundamental liberal justice in order to carry out its principles. A social contract is defined as, “set of rules, governing how people are to treat one another, that rational person will agree to accept, for their mutual benefit, on the condition that others follow those rules as well”.
The social contract is based on the idea that we all benefit equally from the system we have. It is state’s responsibility to make sure that all the citizens are free and have the freedom to act. It means the government cannot enact any laws that interfere with their citizen’s freedom or if the law is necessary to enact then the state needs to justify why they need to take the freedom away. The creation of social contract is justified because it ensures just and equal benefits to all member of the society. Social contract also ensures that people are being punished for their harmful behavior toward the society and being rewarded for prosocial behavior. It is also responsible for equal distribution of benefits for everyone. In other words, the social contract is responsible for giving equal resources to everyone in society. Overall, “a ‘fair’ social contract requires that the system of cooperation enforced by law and criminal justice benefits everyone”.
Since the summon bonum of the criminal justice is fundamental liberal justice; the other values that can be found in the justice system are freedom, equality, justice, and fairness. The most important value in the criminal justice system would be “justice”. According to Raphael, “justice is the most fundamental virtue”.
Justice ensures the fairness in society and also that society lives in cooperation. The concept of justice is fulfilled when people get what they deserve based on their actions. Other values that are found in the system such as freedom, equality, and fairness; all correlate with one another and justice value. The social contract in fundamental liberal justice helps to maintain all the other values in society. Freedom can also be considered one of the important values in the justice system because it ensures that all people are free to act and free from all the unnecessary pressure of state. All members of the society have freedom under the constitution. People have given certain rights under the charter such as “section 07 right where everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of the person and right not to deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice”.
Fairness and equality can also be seen as the important value and both correlate with one another at some level. Fairness ensures that laws are fair to everyone and that the state is only punishing those who are guilty and rewarding those who deserve it. On the other hand, equality ensures that everyone has equal distributions of benefits and have equal access to the resources. Equality promotes the fairness in society. It shows that society is fair by equally treating everyone. Overall the summon bonum, core value of the criminal justice system is fundamental liberal justice. It carries out its principle by having the social contract in a society which makes freedom, equality, justice and fairness important values in the system.
In contrast, the second form of distributive justice is Social justice which contradicts the idea of fundamental liberal justice. Social justice claims that some groups benefit more than others instead of assuming that freedom is equally distributed/beneficial.
It is concerned with the distribution of advantage and disadvantages in society. Social justice argues that fundamental liberal justice assumes that social contract equally benefits everyone but in reality, one group is more benefited by the social contract than the other one. In other words, it argues that fundamental liberal justice creates inequality in the society. Overall social justice states that “equality doesn’t mean justice”.
It also states that it is okay to discriminate in favor of disadvantaged group if the aim is to reduce inequality. Therefore, according to social justice; fundamental liberal justice creates inequality by equally distributing the benefits and resources even to those people who already have those because it does not focus on the need and makes our criminal justice system unethical.
The specific area of the criminal justice system that I desire to work in law enforcement as a police officer. According to me, the values that a police officer work should include equality, fairness, integrity, respect, and justice. A police officer should ensure that their behavior is equal and respectful to everyone including the suspects. They should also ensure that the justice is being carried out in their actions. Police officers are supposed to show integrity which includes honesty, openness, and fairness in their behavior. The main principle of fundamental liberal justice is equality that everyone is getting equal benefits. So according to this principle, police officers should equally treat public in all situations. The fundamental liberal justice also ensures fairness. According to this principle; police officer should also ensure fairness in their work. They should take actions which are fair for everyone. Police officers should treat the suspects fairly and respectfully as other until they are proven guilty. Even when they respond to a crime scene where they are completely sure that the suspect is the one who actually committed the crime; they still need to respect his/her rights until the court’s decision. They need to value everyone’s human rights in order to main fairness. The summon bonum of the criminal justice system is fundamental liberal justice which ensures equality and fairness under the social contract. The values of summon bonus are connected with police officer work because officers are also trained to carry out equality and fairness in their work by treating everyone in a same way including the suspects when they respond to particular incidents. Police officers are taught to respect individuals human rights and ensure the justice is served to society.
Part three: Connection between personal values and criminal justice system values
My personal values that I have listed in part one are independence, gender equality, education, integrity, and respect. The criminal justice values that I have listed are freedom, equality, justice, and fairness. Some of my personal values are interconnecting with criminal justice values and some are contradicting with criminal justice values on a certain level. Gender equality is one of my personal value which interconnects with criminal justice value. The summon bonum of criminal justice system to ensure equality in society. It ensures that everyone is benefiting from the system regardless of their age, gender, religion, race etc. Criminal justice system ensures equality under the constitution in the social contract. I value gender equality because I also believe everyone should be treated equally and get equal resources regardless of their gender. My second personal value which interconnects with criminal justice value is respect. As I stated before that according to fundamental liberal justice; social contract promotes cooperative living under conditions of justice. Cooperative environment means that people are cooperating with each other and respecting each other’s choices. I value respect because I think in order to avoid conflicts in society and make the environment cooperative people need to respect each other regardless of their age. The fundamental liberty justice is also equally distributing everything to everyone in order to avoid conflicts and promote more respectful behavior among each other in society.
My personal values contradict with foundational values of criminal justice values when fundamental liberal justice claims that social contracts equally distribute benefits to everyone and by having social contract society is living in a cooperative environment without any discrimination. According to my personal value gender equality is important because not all the groups are not still equal in our society. Women are still earning less than men. Still, every woman earning 87 cents for every 1$ make by men. In some places, there are still many restrictions on women for such things which are totally appropriate for a man to do. Another discrimination in society exits is Minority groups are still being discriminated against others. Overrepresentation of Aboriginal and African people in the correctional system shows that our society is still not equal even if there is social contract exist. Not everyone is benefiting from the social contract in fundamental liberal justice and not everyone is treated equally under the legal system. Sexism and Racism still exist in our society even if the foundational values of criminal justice claim that our society is equally distributive and everyone is getting what they deserve.
The values that I have listed for a police officer are equality, fairness, integrity, respect, and justice which interconnects with some of my personal values that I listed are independence, gender equality, education, integrity, and respect. Equality is one of my personal value which connects with police officer’s value of equality. I value gender equality because under the constitution as a human being; everyone should be equally treated regardless of their age, gender, religion, race etc. I feel if the society is equally treating men and women then this society will actually be equal. Police officers are also taught to treat everyone equally in every situation including the offender and victim. Gender equality is also promoted in police work; they are expected to serve and provide safety to everyone regardless of their gender. The second personal value that connects with police officer value is respect. I value respect because in order to have a cooperative environment everyone needs to respect each other. A person should not just disrespect other person based on their gender, age, class, religion etc. Police officers are also taught to respect their co-workers and society. They are told to respect individuals freedom and rights in problematic situations. Their behavior needs to be respectful of everyone including women and minority groups. The last personal value that connects with police officer value that I have listed is integrity. As I have stated before, people who value integrity will never hurt anyone internationally because they know the difference between right and wrong and these are the types of people that every society needs. Integrity is the most important value in police officer profession because it shows their honesty, openness, and fairness in their behavior. Overall, most of my personal values are interconnected to the values of police officer’s profession.
My motivation for becoming a criminal justice professional is that I would like to critically examine and develop a better understanding of criminal justice system, specifically to develop a better understanding of law enforcement area. I am interested in becoming a police officer because I wanted to understand how they carry out laws when they are on duty and how they maintain individual’s freedom and rights when they are arresting someone for wrongdoing. I also choose this profession because I wanted to work toward eliminating the inequalities that exist in the system nowadays by critically examining the issues. Since criminal justice professions have high power compare to the other professions; I chose this profession to understand how people in this profession use this power in a positive way and sometimes in a negative way for personal reasons to impact the society.
When confronted with an ethical dilemma it is important to critically examine the dilemma by using the three level of values which are self/individual, institution and collective/societal. When ethical concerns/dilemma arises in criminal justice; these three values can help to examine the root of the problem. These values help us determine where ethical concerns are positioned.
In order to solve an ethical dilemma, we should examine the situation from all different perspective critically and look for all the possible solution and then pick the solution which is supported by good reasoning. Best reasoning consists of unbiased and rational perception. Therefore, when confronted with an ethical dilemma always try to take all three values in the account and critically examine what is the root of the problem and what are some possible solutions and always choose the solution that is completely unbiased and rational. In other words, always choose the solution which is justified under the good reasoning in order to solve an ethical dilemma.
Part four: Personal Mission Statement
I believe that a person should maintain an integrity and should know how to respect other people around. As a criminal justice professional, I would always try to maintain my integrity which includes my honesty and fairness toward my co-workers, the public and political bodies that govern the criminal justice system. I would also respect my co-workers, public, and others because having respect maintained in a profession can lead to less conflict and the more cooperative environment around us. As I personally value education; I will continuously try to educate myself in order to stay familiar with the new laws and existing laws that are being changed over time. I think education is really important for a criminal justice professional to critically examining the issues. As a criminal justice professional, I would maintain a professional relationship with my co-workers and the public which includes respecting everyone’s rights and honestly and independently making a decision without any pressure or bringing my self-bias perspective in. As a person, I value gender equality which means I would like to work in an environment where people do not discriminate based on gender and my motive as a criminal justice professional would be to remove those inequalities in the system. Moreover, based on who I am and as a criminal justice professional I would maintain the respect, integrity, and equality with my co-workers, the public and political bodies that govern the criminal justice system. I will not make any decisions based on my personal reasons and feelings, but I will critically examine the issue and will try to come to an unbiased and rational decision which is justified by good reasoning by considering the three values. I will also question the system whenever I will see that something is discriminating and making the system unethical.