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Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward
the grantees were properly completed.”46 The OIG made three recommendations to OJP to correct its certification process (see Box 7-3).
CODES OF ETHICS
A code of ethics is another mechanism for encouraging the development and use of professional standards of conduct. However, there is disagreement about how effective such codes are in achieving that goal.47 In 1991, Ladd argued that codes of ethics serve no good purpose and that reliance on such codes confuses ethics with law.48 Some authors have noted that although practicing professionals rarely turn to their codes of ethics for guidance, the adoption of a code of ethics is critical to the professionalization of a group, because it indicates that the group recognizes an obligation to society that transcends its own self-interest.49 However, codes of ethics can serve to provide rational bases for punishments, such as exiling violators from the community.
In the field of engineering, Davis asserts that codes of ethics should be understood as conventions among professionals:
The code is to protect each professional from certain pressures (for example, the pressure to cut corners to save money) by making it reasonably likely … that most other members of the profession will not take advantage of her good conduct. A code protects members of a profession from certain consequences of competition. A code is a solution to a coordination problem.50
Also in the field of engineering, Harris et al. argue that codes can serve as a collective recognition by members of a profession of its responsibilities, creating an environment in which ethical behavior is the norm.51 Moreover, a code of ethics can serve as an educational tool, providing a starting point for discussion in coursework and professional meetings.
Ibid., p. iii.
A series of articles published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences 34(3) (May 1989) addressed a range of ethical dilemmas facing individuals practicing science in the criminal justice system.
J. Ladd. 1991. The quest for a code of professional ethics: An intellectual and moral confusion. In: D.G. Johnson (ed.). Ethical Issues in Engineering. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, pp. 130-136.
H.C. Luegenbiehl. 1983. Codes of ethics and the moral education of engineers. Businessand Professional Ethics Journal 2:41-61; D.G. Johnson (ed.). 1991. Ethical Issues in Engineering. 1991. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, pp. 137-154.
M. Davis. 1991. Thinking like an engineer: The place of a code of ethics in the practice of a profession. Philosophy and Public Affairs 20(2):150-167, p. 154.
C.E. Harris, M.S. Pritchard, and M.J. Rabins. 1995. Engineering Ethics: Concepts andCases. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.