ETHICS

Suppose that you are employed by the Alabama Department of Corrections as a psychologist. You are a dedicated employee who advocates for the rights of the disabled inmates. You work overtime, sometimes without pay. But your existing caseload is unmanageable and yet every day you are assigned new cases. One of your patients attempted to commit suicide. You have complained to your supervisor to no avail.

An investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) found that many inmates in Alabamas state prisons, including those with disabilities and serious physical and mental illnesses, face systemic indifference, discrimination, and dangerous life-threatening conditions. Inspections of Alabama prisons, interviews with prisoners, and a review of medical records, depositions, media accounts, policies, contracts, and reports of the ADOC, reveal that Alabamas prisons violate the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (cruel and unusual punishment) and federal law intended to protect people with disabilities.

You know that the allegations set forth in the complaint are factually correct. But you need your job. You have a wife, two children, and a mortgage. You spoke truthfully when you were interviewed by the ADAP. You confirmed that inmates are being denied adequate medical care.

In 2011, in Brown v. Plata, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that depriving prisoners of adequate medical care is incompatible with the concept of human dignity and has no place in civilized society. Deliberate indifference to these medical needs constitutes unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain barred by the Eighth Amendment (https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/documents/the_opinion.pdf).

You know that the ADOC is understaffed and that allegations contained in the complaint are true, but you find yourself in a difficult position given that your livelihood depends on employment with the prison. One by one, apply Rushworth Kidders four typologies (i.e., justice versus mercy, truth versus loyalty, individual versus community, and short term versus long term) ethical dilemmas to assess the moral permissibility of the conduct alleged in the complaint. Work through each typology, gathering whatever information is relevant for both sides of the argument. Apply Kidders checkpoints as outlined in the following presentation: http://www.agsm.edu.au/bobm/teaching/BE/lect03-3.pdf  (Disregard slide 11).

Support your writing assignment with two (2) outside scholarly articles. Reference the complaint filed by the SPLC and other articles from their website when relevant.

The post ETHICS first appeared on Essay Teachers.

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