Ethical Dilemma Worksheet
1. What is the ethical issue or problem? Identify the issue succinctly.
The ethical issue here is that the husband, who was also a prisoner of war and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, may not be fit for an adult prison because the war experiences left him with the mentality of a 10 year old.
2. What are the most important facts? Which facts have the most bearing on the ethical decision presented? Include any important potential economic, social, or political pressures, and exclude inconsequential facts.
The husband’s military history and medical diagnosis confirms his war story and medical condition.
3. Identify each claimant (key actor) who has an interest in the outcome of this ethical issue. From the perspective of the moral agent—the individual contemplating an ethical course of action—what obligation is owed to the claimant? Why?
Obligation (owed to the claimant)
Perspective (What does the claimant hope will happen?)
Consequences for his crime
The husband cannot handle being confined in any space due to his war experiences, so a different form of punishment would be preferred.
The wife of the criminal knows her husband cannot handle being in a prison because of his condition and would fear for his safety, hopes for an alternative punishment.
The judge wants proper justice for the criminal.
Safety of the criminal and inmates
The probation officer wants to do what is right for the criminal, who is a pow with special needs, and would recommend an alternative, such as house arrest, probation, etc.
The husband’s psychiatrist doctor
The husband’s psychiatrists recommended that the husband should not be confined for more than a few hours, otherwise the risk of violent outburst can occur. So they would hope that he not be confined.
4. What are two alternatives for the scenario? One alternative can be a wild card that you ordinarily may not consider an option because of potential implications. Both should be within free will and control of the same moral agent.
Make a recommendation based off of his medical and military history to change his punishment to something that does not confine him in a small cell with other dangerous inmates.
Do nothing. The husband committed a crime and should accept the consequences.
5. Respond to the following questions based on your developed alternatives.
What are the best- and worst-case scenarios if you choose this alternative?
Best: The judge approves of the recommendation and gives the criminal a punishment more suitable to the situation.
Worst: The criminal gets a lesser punishment.
Best: The criminal serves his time with no outbursts due to his ptsd.
Worst: The criminal cannot handle prison and his life is on the line.
Will anyone be harmed if this alternative is chosen? If so, how will they be harmed? Consider families and derivative effects.
No one will be hurt if the right actions are taken. Place the criminal on house arrest to insure he does not drive while intoxicated again.
Possibly the criminal, and other inmates can be harmed if the criminal has a violent outburst due to his ptsd.
Would honoring an idea or value—such as personal, professional, or religious—make the alternative invalid?
As long as the husband receives a punishment that suits his crime and he cannot have the opportunity to drink and drive, then no.
Because the husband has special needs, it would be unjustified to put him in a prison after discovering his history, and potentially putting other inmates at risk.
Are there any rules, laws, or principles that support the alternative? Are there rules, laws, or principles that make the alternative invalid? State the rule or principle and indicate if it invalidates or