Ethical Dilemma essay


The paper is aimed at investigation of the importance of raising and disciplining of children by parents. The paper presents how it is important for young people to know laws and be responsible for their actions. This paper tries to show that there are contradictions between laws and education of young people. Early criminal responsibility has both positive and negative impact on young people.

This study reveals that there is an ethical dilemma between education and raising of children and laws. This study seeks to explain that the level of criminality among the youth is constantly increasing because of instability and contradictions of laws.

Key words: criminal justice, criminal responsibility, ethical dilemma, juridical system.


The criminal justice plays an important role in public order and personal freedom. The modern world is abundant in evils and crimes. That is why criminal justice should be the protector. At the present time, a great number of people committing crimes remain unpunished while they should answer for the breach of law. The problem is that there are many criminals among young people. The statistics shows that 68,000 violent crimes in New York are committed by juveniles under age 18. Jeffrey Butts states that young people play the leading role in committing crimes in the USA, so it is important to find the ways to decrease the level of crimes among children.

The word ‘law’ is always associated with the notions of regulations, statutes and legislation. There is the stereotype that law always defends public welfare and good. However, the modern youth is not conscious that they should obey laws and not violate them. As it can be seen, this is ethical problem and the problem of education. Early imprisonment means the further ruining of future life of teenagers and too little chances for happy and rewarding life. There should be a close connection between teachers, parents and police in questions of law.

Legal system is far from perfect. It does not try to solve the case without damaging people’s life. It does not try to find evidence for solving the problem. It tries to punish violently without caring about justice. It means that there are a number of cases when young people are not guilty but they get punishment or imprisonment.

At the present time there is the problem of increasing of crimes among young people. The low age of criminal responsibility can be the result of increasing the number of criminals in our society. At early age children are not conscious of their actions and very often they do not distinguish what is good and what is wrong. However, from the ethical points of view, people of all ages should be responsible for their actions, either good or bad.  As to raising children, parents should play the main role in disciplining and teaching their children to obey the law.

Ethical Dilemma of the Right of Parents to Raise/Discipline Their Children

The right raising and disciplining of children by their parents is the biggest ethical dilemma at the present time as the wrong education may lead to offences and crimes. To my mind, the problem even does not concern the wrong education but moral and ethical degradation of youth. Young people should know the deontological, utilitarian, ethical and moral principles. Utilitarianism is the ideas of moral preferences and actions in the interests of others. It is one of the powerful and persuasive approaches in philosophy. Utilitarianism is about morally right actions. Utilitarianism supports the ideas of making good to other people. Utilitarian ethics determines moral principles of behavior of an individual.

Deontological ethics is the ideas of following certain rules and duties. It defines right moral choice and what is permitted, required and forbidden. According to deontological philosophy, when a person carries out the duties, he/she behaves morally. To my mind, the parents and teachers should teach this.

I suppose that there should be the connection between children, parents, teachers and police. The aim of parents is to raise and to discipline. The aim of teachers is to teach moral qualities and ethical principles. The aim of police is to coordinate behavior of children involving correctional programs.

To my mind, raising the age of criminal responsibility may lead to complete degradation of young people. Criminal responsibility can be not the way of punishment for illegal actions but it is the start of degradation of moral and ethical values. I am convinced that criminal responsibility should come at the age when children are intellectually, emotionally and mentally mature.

If to look at the age of criminal responsibility in other countries, one may say that it is different in different countries and depends on the culture and religious views. In modern society while choosing the age of criminal responsibility, one takes into consideration psychological, ethical and moral aspects of criminal responsibility. However, every person reaches an emotional, mental and intellectual maturity in different ages. That is why criminal justice cannot adapt to every individual person and that is a big deal. It is known that if the age of criminal responsibility is too low, criminal responsibility becomes meaningless and one can not be sure that the person will not repeat a crime.

To my mind, the biggest ethical dilemma of criminal responsibility at early age is that it may lead to moral degradation of society and young generation becomes criminals. Criminal justice and security management are without doubt the branches that demand the moral behavior the most, comparing with other professions. Choosing the age of criminal responsibility, criminal justice should do the best in order to shorten the level of violence and crime among young people.

It is a pity that nowadays young people do not know the Constitution and violate laws even not realizing about illegality of their actions. Indeed, ignorance does not exempt from responsibility. American public should raise the feelings of responsibility in their children.

Criminal justice should follow certain ethical and moral norms. However, it is a pity that in many cases criminal justice ignores illegal behavior of individuals and does not see their acts as crime. It is ridiculous how they can decide the destiny of another person and charge of something when their acts are not examples to follow. The society suffers from bad judiciary system that does not struggle for justice but gives a birth to new crimes. There is the saying that rules exist in order to violate them. So, as we see, ethical dilemma concerns not only young people committing crimes but also criminal justice that punishes for crimes.

Speaking about ethical issues, it is necessary to say that they contradict criminal justice. Ethics and moral principles always give the chance to a person to admit his/her mistake. However, if one commits a crime, according to laws he/she will receive a punishment: fines, community works or imprisonment. I think that the young people who violate the law should pay a fine or work off. As to the imprisonment, it may have negative influence on the formation of a young personality.

I came to the conclusion that parents are responsible for the actions of their children. However, I suppose that raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years will have some benefits. First of all, if a person bears responsibility at the age from 16 to 18 years, he/she is more conscious of his/her actions. He/she is mentally, emotionally and intellectually more mature. The benefit of raising age of criminal responsibility of youth will be noticeable as with age young people are more capable of differentiating what is right and what is wrong. To my mind, children violating law at the age of 16 and younger should not bear criminal responsibility; their parents should be responsible for them and their education. From 16 to 18 years of age young people are able to take decision and be responsible for their deeds.

I came to conclusion that opinions concerning these issues differ. Jeffrey Butts states that young people take the leading place in committing crimes in the USA. Statistics shows that raising the age decreases the level of crimes in New York. Liz Robbins in her article for New York Times states that children should be constantly near their parents and families and this also helps to decrease the level of crimes. The Department of Juvenile Justice proposes creating a service coordinator who will help to control the juveniles who have problems with the law. This coordinator will visit the family and go to the court if it is necessary in order to help the young violators.


  1. Benoit, J. (April, 2010). Confessions and the Constitution. Retrieved from:
  2. Law Enforcement Code of Ethics (2012). Retrieved from: ETHICS.html
  3. Police Ethics (2003). Retrieved from: Chiefs_Desk_Reference/pdf/2%20ethics.pdf
  4. Singer, P. (1995). The Importance of Ethics in Criminal Justice. Retrieved from:

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