Scandals in the News
Lately, there seems to be a lot of crime being committed by people in positions of trust – politicians, policemen, health care professionals, ministers, etc. That should come as no surprise, given that we are all human; and human beings, as I noted in my paper, On Being Perfect (In Theology, Volume 4, Justice or Just Us? Graceland/Park Press, 1996), are a perfect product of their personal heredity and experiences. I used to tell my clients/patients that everything is just the way that it should be – “should be” in the sense that the way things are could be understood to be the way they are if we only knew everything that has led up to this point in time. It is a bit like the observation that everyone is doing what they feel is the right thing to do. In the case of people who are crooked, their level of moral reasoning does not reach as high as Kohlberg’s Law and Order stage of moral development (see my postings on May 8 and 9, 2014), so that doing what they believe is the right thing to do (e.g., taking whatever they want regardless of its affect on others) is why the less-skilled criminals end up in jail rather than business or politics.
But is there any way to do something about it? Well, we can always provide these individuals with a different set of experiences, which is what “Correctional” Services should be all about. Unfortunately, it seldom happens that way, although I have personally worked in three correctional instritutions in which those kinds of “correcting” experiences were available – although only after-the-fact, since all of those inmates had been incarcerated for thier crimes and, secondary gain being what it is, none of them would have sought out treatment if they had not already been caught for thier criminal conduct. But there are a few tools that could be used to screen people who are going to be placed in positions of trust, and I am beginning to think that those persons responsible for selecting individuals for positions of trust – political parties, police departments, etc. – should be using them.