Ethics & Employablity


Research report

Table of Contents

Introduction. 3

What is NACRO?. 3

Modernisation of the Probation service. 3

My placement. 3

The purpose of my role. 4

What are Ethics?. 4

Why are ethics important?. 4

What are Ethics in the criminal justice sector. 5

Ethics and my placement. 5

Conclusion. 6

Bibliography. 6

Appendix. 8



Within this report I will be discussing my placement, the modernisation of the Probation service, the importance of ethics in the public sector and finally relate them to my 70 hours of placement. This report will also include two reflective diary entries and a log on my placement hours as evidence of my work for this report.

What is NACRO?

NACRO is a charity which was formed in 1966.the charity took over from the National Association of Discharged Prisoners’ Aid Societies in the same year (NACRO,2017). NACRO now stands for the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders. NACRO’s charitable aim is to create a society in which communities are crime free, where people feel safe and are supported to reach their aspirations. (NACRO,2017).


NACRO helps thousands of people each year in 4 main ways including education, health, housing and justice. These are all seen as factor that can contribute to re-offending so by helping these issues it could prevent re-offending.

Modernisation of the Probation service.

The aims of the National Probation service as stated by the Home Office (2015) the rehabilitation of offenders, the correct and fair punishment of offenders, reduce re-offending and protecting the public from crime.

In 1887 saw the Probation of First Offenders Act passed which introduced the concept of probation; however, it was not until 20 years later when the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 was created and that a recognizable form of probation was carried out. (Whitehead, 2010)

Whitehead (2010) explains that the Modernisation of The Criminal Justice Act 1991 saw a change from the usual meeting with probation officer to cognitive behavioural programmes. This was to be able to see why offenders break the law and why (Whitehead, 2010).

This saw the responsibility of the service change to the responsibility of the individual. This was to allow them to focus on their specific unacceptable behaviour and to therefore make offenders accept responsibility for their actions.

Another factor that modernised the probation service according to (Whitehead, 2010) was when a Probation Order became a direct sentence from the court. According to the Probation directory (, 2017) The purpose of the order is to ‘’rehabilitate the offender, protect the public and prevent the offender committing further offences’’.

The modernisation of the probation service has had to restructure itself many times over the years to keep up the needs of society with a change in why people commit crime and rather than just sentencing an offender the probation service tries to rehabilitate to stop offending. Now modernisation has led to using programmes such as Volunteering Essex which I have been able to help on during my placement to help archive the new aims of the service.

My placement

During my studies at Anglia Ruskin University we carried out 70 hours of work experience (see appendix 1). For my work experience I was fortunate enough to work with NACRO and the Probation Service as a volunteer in the scheme called Rehabilitation Essex.

Transforming Rehabilitation is the name given to the government’s programme for how offenders are managed in England and Wales from February 2015. (NACRO 2017). The programme has involved volunteers and some paid staff becoming mentors for people who have just left prison and need support.

During my time volunteering I help offenders to achieve these goals they discussed with the probation officer. These goals can include: helping with debit, housing, diet, housing, applying for job/ benefits, enrolling in education and finally helping with CV’s.


To be able to do this role did a day of training up in Colchester. I learnt about behaviours I should have, what to expect, I got given a work phone to communicate with my mentees. After training I shadowed my supervisor who is a probation officer to see what she does with her meetings to make sure I knew what to do. I found this very beneficial as it demonstrated how I should act in this type of situation.


The purpose of my role

The whole purpose of Rehabilitating Essex is to support offenders after leaving prison. Due to a high number of prisoners re-offend within a year (NACRO,2017). According to open Justice (2017) this figure was 59% of offenders reoffend. Research conducted my NACRO (2017) found that if all offenders where supported for an entire year then this rate will fall dramatically to under 25%. This is the reason NACRO and The Probation Service created rehabilitation Essex.

What are Ethics?

Ethics can be described by Wellington (2000) as a moral principle or a code of conduct which guides what people do.  The term ethics usually refers to the moral principles or code of conduct, which are held by a group or even a profession. Ethics create a way to justify moral decisions when we are unclear about what to do in situations which involve making moral issues.

Why are ethics important?

Ethics are a necessary in employment and within everyday life. Ethics and moral decision making are our way of deciding our approaches in life and possibly employment. Without ethics, there would be no way of deciding on what to do in a moral decision as you will have no ethics to guide you. Without ethics, we then may be unable to achieve our goals in life and employment. By exploring ethics, it assists us to understand our reasoning ability during though moral decisions (Felkenese 1987).

A person’s work ethic can tell you a lot about an employee. If the employee has an excellent work ethic, you can almost assume that they are going to be reliable, trustworthy, and efficient within the workplace.

Ethics within the workplace in society is governed through rules and even legal restrictions that tell you if something is considered, to be right or wrong. Employers may have rules or code of conducts   to uphold and maintain a ridged idea of ethical and moral values. An example of an employer that has ethical code of conduct is the Police force.

The Police use the code of Ethics to govern the Police’s ethical behaviour. The code of ethics where created by The College of Policing (2014) some of the codes include Policing behaviour, Policing principles, confidentiality and duties and responsibilities to name a few.

By the Police service and The College of Policing creating this code of conduct it created knowledge of what behaviours Police officers should have. before 2014 these behaviours where never written down for Police to look at nor learn about. Now they are the Police have something to abide by. The college of Policing also state that ‘’the codes help police professionals make the right decisions includes enhancing the knowledge and evidence base as well as developing a framework for continuous professional development’’.

What are Ethics in the criminal justice sector.

Ethics are very important for those who work within the criminal justice sector. People who work in this sector have great power and influence on society every single day. Therefore, it is imperative that these individuals work ethically.

Ethics are described as ‘crucial’ within the criminal Justice sector within the research conducted by Banks (2004). This is due to the Public sector contains a huge amount of power and social control to tackle crime and enforce the law.

It is important as people working in this sector that they are ethical for 2 main reasons. Firstly, by working unethically can cause miscarriage of justice. This can be extremely costly to the services perception and trust from the public. Unethical examples such as the cover up of the racism in the Stephen Lawrence murder caused a lack of trust in the Criminal justice system. An article by The BBC (Muir, 2014) said that Policing has been ‘damaged’ by the behaviour of its staff during the inquiry of Lawrence’s death. This is due to the Discriminative behaviour found in officers who were investigating the murder.

Secondly unethical acts within the criminal justice system weakens society. By acting unethical can cause harm to citizens causing a lack of trust and respect. For instance, if citizens in a community are mistreated by the Police then they can be unwilling to help report crimes therefore crime will be harder to manage and less criminals will be caught.

Ethics and my placement.

During this module, I have looked closely at Ethical behaviour. During our lectures, we looked closely at the British sociological association’s Ethical guidelines (2017) and we are also monitored by these and the Anglia Ruskin research ethics (2017). These guidelines state how we should act and behave, what happens if we don’t act ethically and why we should act Ethically.

As a student who has just had their first experience within the criminal justice sector, I never really understood the importance of ethical behaviour within the criminal justice.

Within my training for this role we discussed ethics and our behaviour. This was to ensure we understood boundaries, skills we need and the characteristics we should display. This goes hand in hand with guidelines from the British sociological association’s Ethical guidelines (2017) and the Anglia Ruskin research Ethics (2017) as it states we should understand the type of relationship between the participant and the researcher. This is to ensure ethical conduct to prevent harm.

I now understand that its it crucial for me to understand the importance of ethics and why we get so much training on the subject. Without this knowledge then I could harm the individuals I am trying to help. During my work experience I have worked with vulnerable people. If I did not work ethically or under Anglia Ruskin’s reserch ethics (2017) then I can cause harm in a few ways including. Causing stress, exposing their confidentiality/anonymity and it can also cause them to reoffend.

Additionally, I have written a reflective diary. Within week 11 I wrote a piece about ethics in my placement. (see appendix 2). Within this reflective diary I discussed ethical problems that can/have occurred within working in the criminal justice sector.


In conclusion, before placement I never imagined or thought that ethical behaviour would be important ant in my career within the justice sector. just by doing 70 hours of placement I can see that ethical behaviour is extremely important principle and without out ethics in the criminal justice sector can cause lack of trust, a toxic relationship between the public and the Public sector and even miscarriages of justice.

It is important that criminal justice workers understand ethics and are trained throughout their career. This is to ensure that the person is working ethically and understands what their power could do it not used ethically. Cases such as the Stephen Lawrence’s Case could have been prevented if these officer had training to see how their unethical behaviour would have effected a murder investigation and a whole communities trust in the Police Service.




























  • Ragonese, E. (2015). The Routledge guide to working in criminal justice. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.
  • McNair, S . (2003) Employability in higher education. LTSN Generic centre/ university of Surrey. [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].
  • (2017). re-offending rate. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].
  • NACRO (2017). A social justice charity | Nacro. [online] Nacro. Available at: [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].
  • The College of Policing 2014. Code of Ethics | College of Policing. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13/12/17]
  • (2017). Guidelines of Ethical research. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017].
  • (2017). Research Ethics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017].
  • Felkenes, G. 1987. “Ethics in the Graduate Criminal Justice Curriculum.” Teaching Philosophy 10(1): 23–26.
  • Banks, C. (2004). Criminal Justice Ethics: Theory and Practice. 4th ed. London: Sage.
  • uk. (2017). National Probation Service – GOV.UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Dec. 2017].
  • Whitehead, P. (2010). Exploring modern probation. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Muir, H. (2014). Policing ‘damaged’ after Stephen Lawrence report. The BBC. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Dec. 2017].














Appendix 1: 70-hour log






Appendix 2: reflective diary entry 27th November 2017

Ethical issues in my placement

Doing work experience in the justice sector is rewarding and exciting however it can be very difficult at times when trying to be ethical. As we are doing work experience as part of our degree we must ensure that the people we are volunteering with know this to be Ethical and honest so we don’t cause harm or stress to any person we may come in contact with.

Ethics has become a big topic when doing our work experience module. Some of the ethical problems I have had to face while being on placement are making sure they have full confidentiality. This means I don’t know their full name or what crime they have done. They can tell me however if this was known to anyone is can cause harm or stress to my mentee if others know. Especially due to a lot of our meetings are in public.

Another ethical issue I have faced doing this work experience is making sure I don’t expose myself to much to the offender. This is a safety reason by using my own phone or meeting them in their house for example would make the whole meeting totally unethical. A way I can stop this happening is meeting in places which is appreciate and only contact the offender off my work phone to stay professional and to make sure no one else has access to my phone.

Finally, the last big ethical issue I have is because I write reports after every meeting I could potentially write something harmful or because they are on my personal computer these could be stolen or seen by someone else if not looked after correctly. These reports can contain personal information such as where they are living, if they have children, the offence committed. Which if seen by someone can prevent someone’s confidentiality and anonymity. A way I can prevent these being looked at is my securing my laptop, making sure I don’t leave paperwork, I don’t write to personal information on there just in case.

During this module, I have looked closely at Ethical behaviour. During our lectures, we looked closely at the British sociological association’s Ethical guidelines (2017) and we are also monitored by these and the Anglia Ruskin research ethics (2017). These guidelines state how we should act and behave, what happens if we don’t act ethically and why we should act Ethically.

Due to these guidelines, my ethical practice has been informed by these ethical principles by allowing me to see why we have these guidelines also it has enlightened me to behaviours I should have during my work and volunteering.



  • (2017). Guidelines of Ethical research. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017].
  • (2017). Research Ethics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017].





Appendix 3: reflective dairy entry 13th November 2017

what have I learnt during my work experience in reference to Kolb’s (1984) learning cycle.

During my work experience I have learnt many things however one thing that have stood out is learning and developing my communication skills. Prior to this module I thought I was good at communicating. I have focused on this skill many times within my time in education. However, starting this module, it soon became clear I was not as good at communicating as I first thought.

During this module, we looked at a study conducted by Kolb (1984) called ’The Experiential Learning Cycle’. Kolb’s experiential learning style theory is typically represented by four stages. The four stages can be described to us by McLeod (2017) :

  1. ‘’Concrete Experience – (a new experience of situation is encountered, or a reinterpretation of existing experience).
  2. Reflective Observation (of the new experience. Of importance are any inconsistencies between experience and understanding).
  3. Abstract Conceptualisation (Reflection gives rise to a new idea, or a modification of an existing abstract concept).
  4. Active Experimentation (the learner applies them to the world around them to see what results).’’

As stated above my new learning experience was being able to practice my communication skills. This is the first part of Kolb’s cycle. The second stage of the learning cycle is reflecting after the event. Soon after starting my work experience I got a work phone to ensure offenders where only contacting me on this phone for my safety and to keep things professional. As someone who is always on the phone and communicating daily I thought I would be good at it. however, upon reflecting I saw I was missing calls on not replying to messages as quickly as I can. This looks unprofessional and must be frustrating for people who have left prison.

After reflecting I had to come up with a plan to be able to correct this. This is the theorising stage of Kolb’s cycle (1984). To combat my bad communication, I planned to message my mentee’s 24 hours before appointments to make sure they are still available and to remind them. Also, I told my offenders that my personal mentor phone will be on Monday-Thursday 2-6 for any phone calls. I also mentioned that out of this time they can contact the probation officer (my supervisor) who will get me to contact my mentee.

The final stage of the cycle is testing and making sure my plan is going to work ready for the next time I need to communicate with my mentees. I started using this plan and it does work. I have a balance between work experience, work and university along with some free time. I am communicating better and this has made it easier for my mentees to contact me. I haven’t yet failed to answer a phone call and by reminding my offenders the day before ensures that neither of us will be stood put if we forget or unable to attend.

Overall Kolb’s learning cycle has been practical and helpful when improving and learning from a new experience. He states that Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” (Kolb, 1984, p. 38). By using this cycle, it made me identify my weaknesses and made me reflect so I can improve. Due to Kolb’s cycle, I will continue to use the way I communicate with my mentee’s.



  • Kolb, D. (1984). Experimental learning. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
  • McLeod, S. (2017). Kolb’s Learning Styles and Experiential Learning Cycle | Simply Psychology. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017].