Criminal law moves and lives in public institutions. Life and death ethics moves and lives in individuals. This is the area in which ethics is closest to criminal law. Ethical laws are generally in two categories: negative, things you should not do and positive, things you should do. In the case of Correctional Facilities, ethics is commonly called a Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics. Employees of the Georgia Department of Corrections on all levels are inherently held to a higher standard of conduct.
All employees are required to follow strict work rules and standards of behavior both during work hours and non-work hours. There is no such thing as, “What I do in my off-hours is my business. ” Georgia Governor’s Executive Order dated January 13, 2003, establishes a Code of Ethics for Executive Branch Officers and Employees. Georgia Department of Corrections Standard Operating Procedures (revised December 15, 2006), incorporates this Code of Ethics which sets a minimum standard of conduct for all employees of the Department of Corrections.
Correctional Facilities at all levels, such as, the Colquitt County Correctional Institute and the Colquitt County Jail must comply with these minimal standards of conduct and may have additional and or more specific standards for their staff tailored to their specific mission. The following is a synopsis of the procedures for all Department of Corrections employees and are incorporated in both the Colquitt County Correctional Institutes and Colquitt County Jail’s Standard Operating Procedures: 1.
Employees must conduct themselves in a manner which reflects credit upon themselves and the Department of Corrections while on-duty and off-duty. 2. Employees shall not drive any motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (BAC of . 02 or greater while on-duty and BAC of . 08 or greater off-duty) or any other drug whether legal or illegal. They are also prohibited from possession, manufacture, or distribution of illegal drugs. 3. Employees shall not engage in any conduct that could result in a court imposing incarceration or probation of any type or duration.
The conviction or even prosecution for any such offense is not necessary for dismissal, if, in the opinion of the employee’s Appointing Authority or other superiors feels the employee has brought discredit on the Department. 4. Employees shall not use state property or resources for personal business. For example: State credit and fuel cards; State vehicles; no personal long distance telephone calls; prohibited from using State-provided internet access for pornographic, obscene, or other improper purposes. . State-owned/leased cameras, facsimile machines and Xerox machines are to be used only for official business. 6. Employees shall not use profanity, abusive language or slang names against an inmate. Employees shall not use abusive or excessive force against an inmate. 7. Employees shall treat all persons equally, professionally and fairly without regard to race, gender, creed, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, political affiliation, and social/economical status. . Employees shall not engage in financial dealings that conflict with or give the appearance of conflicting with the interests of the Department. Employees shall manage their personal finances to include filing income taxes and debts, in a manner that does not make them susceptible to compromise of their public duties. 9. Employees shall not use their employment status to seek favor, coerce, intimidate, or receive any privileges not authorized by the performance of their duties.
No employee shall directly or indirectly accept gifts, kick backs, or other items from any person with whom the employee interacts on official state business. 10. Employees shall not have “close personal relationships” with the other employees within the chain of command and shall not show favoritism to other employees based on familial or personal relationships. 11. Employees shall not bring unauthorized weapons or contraband across the guard line into work areas. 12.
Employees taking part in political activities must comply with applicable Federal and State laws and State Personnel Board Rules. Employees may: express opinions on political subjects and candidates; take an active part in political campaigns outside of working hours; and are encouraged to vote. 13. Professional standards of neatness, cleanliness, safety, and dress shall be adhered to at all times. All employees are required to read and sign an Employee Standards of Conduct Acknowledgement Statement. 14.
Employees shall report any violation or attempted violation of or noncompliances with a law, rule, or regulation to the appropriate Department personnel or to the State Inspector General and they shall not be retaliated against for reporting such information by any Department employee. 15. Any Corrections employees who violate the established Standards of Conduct may be subject to disciplinary action such as termination. 16. All employees are required to attend and successfully complete a comprehensive training program that complies with Federal, State and local standards for corrections/jail personnel.
The training program is designed to promote professionalism and to maintain consistent operational practices in all facilities. County guidelines, rules, and regulations are established to properly govern personal conduct, ethics, moral principles and discipline in accordance with Federal, State, and department policies and rules. Attachment 1A is a good summary of Ethics in Correction by Chief Jailer Larry Byrd of Colquitt County Jail, Moultrie, Georgia. Lieutenant Byrd has had fifteen years of experience in the field of Corrections and is very well aware of the importance of Ethics in Corrections.
Laws can set a Code of Ethics to be followed and can provide guidelines for punishment when the laws are violated. How do you know whether you are in fact obeying or breaking the ethical laws? How do you decide whether you are being ethical or unethical? Both law and ethics seek to restrain harm doing and chaos. When moral laws within you rule your passions, you are good and this combined with guidelines defined in a Code of Ethics established by governments will create order and respect. WORKS CITED Georgia Department of Corrections – Standard Operating Procedures (December 15, 2006)