Incorporating Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development into the Justice System - Essay Prowess

Incorporating Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development into the Justice System


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Incorporating Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development into the Justice System


Justice is the key aspect of all generations and in a normal situation, it incorporates both fairness and the aspect of being equal among all the parties. The aspect of justice composes of adjudications among individuals, which dwells on magnitude of wrongs committed and emphasizes on legal procedures (Killen & Smetana, 2006, p.23). It means that each and every person is responsible in finding solutions to conflicts without considering whether they are the source of the conflicts or whether they are the ones wronged.

Additionally, it means that someone should undergo punishment only if there is proven evidence that he or she has indeed perpetrated an act of crime. The other feature dwells on the administration of justice which ought to be carried out after one has gone through the due procedure of the law (Killen & Smetana, 2006, p.29). The Kohlberg’s stages of moral development consists of three levels in which a person goes through during the process of learning ways of making high standards decisions which are ethically acceptable to the community at large. When the development level of a person is high, he or she is expected to make technical or advanced decisions. The first level is pre-conventional morality which involves the stage of abiding by the laws and being punished. It comes before other stages, and is where children view guidelines as immobile and absolute, and abiding by these regulations is crucial in avoiding being punished (Killen & Smetana, 2006, p.33).

The stage that follows is that of individualism and exchange, where children justify their personal views and make judgments to actions basing on how they serve personal requirements. It is distinguished by a view that correct actions mean behaving in a way that suits one’s interests. The second level is that of conventional morality which incorporates association with different individuals (Mobley, 2002, p.12). It emphasizes on trying to live the way we are expected socially. This encompasses enhancing the social harmony, where individuals start to consider the community as a whole when making decisions with an objective of enhancing regulations and peace by abiding by rules as well as subjecting to the governance in the society.

The third level is post conventional morality that incorporates rights of persons where they start to justify their diverse views and values (Mobley, 2002, p.14). It contains universal elements where people follow self-values of fairness even if they disagree with the guidelines and formulations. Officers can utilize Kohlberg’s stages of moral development to assess criminals. Juvenile delinquencies are unable to identify governance of elected leaders and that of their parents. They can’t honor norms and regulations formulated by those in power. Individuals driven by self-interest like insurance frauds opt to take advantage of others and are cautious to being detected because they are aware of presence of consequences for their acts. Those who carry out serial killings have low development when it comes to universal principles of ethics. They know that they are doing wrong as per the society’s attitudes but continue with their acts (Mobley, 2002, p.20).

Juvenile acts may be prevented through both counseling and also through punishment so as to enable them know their expectations by the society and will demonstrate to them advantages of following rules. Both insurance frauds and those committing serial murders can be prevented through punishment as this will deter them from their committing their acts. Corruption refers to any act that wrongly uses one’s power. In police body, it entails robbing the people dealing with drugs, shielding a corrupt officer, giving false reports of police among others (Mobley, 2002, p.22). To curb this, police bodies need to acquire people of good character as well as ensuring that screening methods of getting them are very strict to limit chances of the process of hiring being corrupt too.


A prima facie role is a feature, which an action contains, by the fact that it is a certain type. Officers who enforce regulations should possess justice which is the role to make corrections. They should also possess gratitude which involves repaying other people for the last favors which was done by an individual (Mobley, 2002, p.28). Furthermore, fidelity is another aspect. Officers should fulfill their agreements which they have committed themselves.


Killen, M., & Smetana, J. (2006). Handbook of moral development. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Mobley, S. (2002). The study of Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development theory and ethics.