Criminology is the scientific approach to studying criminal behavior. Like any other –ology there is ethical issues and concerns. Psychology has ethical concerns on some studies due to the factor of research subjects being lied to about what they are participating in or the harming of animals for research. With psychology certain ethical standard committees have been created to help deter the unethical behavior. In criminology the ethical issues are: what they should study, whom they should study, and how they should study.
What should criminologist be studying? Some criminologist are working for Universities and Colleges that are only interested in the scholar aspect of criminology, while some have a type of political interest. During the studies it has to be funded by someone and the ethical issue that comes into play is when a police ...view middle of the document...
Concentrating only on one aspect of the crime in a city will leave out the major crimes and swing an undetermined amount of force to one aspect instead of a fair and impartial justice system. The Bell Curve, a highly controversial book written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, they reached the conclusion that because minority group members have lower than average IQ scores, their crime rates are high. (pg 24 Concepts of Crime Law and Criminology) Does this mean that dumb criminals are the only ones that get caught? It proves that ethical issues exist because only one subject or aspect of criminology is being observed.
The third aspect is how criminologist should study criminology. Should criminologist mislead their participants in their research to determine a certain outcome? This is a lot along the lines of psychology studies and should research subjects be told they are taking a placebo. It all boils down to is the outcome going to be construed due to knowing the reason for the test. The ethical issue is are you using the research for your own personal gain and belief because you think you have the power. Criminologist like psychologist should be careful when doing research so as to not cause more harm than good. For example the Stanford Prison Experiment studies that the Department of Defense funded on prisoners and guards, individuals were actually hurt. Those playing guards conformed to the role all too well and became abusive. Again this program was shut down due to more harm being caused than good. ( Saul McLeod published 2008)
Criminologists face a critical issue which involves recognizing political and social consequences. Criminologists often forget their social responsibility they have as experts in areas such as crime and justice. Millions of people can be influenced by criminological research data.
http://www.simplypsychology.org/zimbardo.html author Saul Mclead 2008
CONCEPTS OF CRIME, LAW, AND CRIMINOLOGY author Larry J Siegel 2012, 2009