Teaching Ethics in the Training Academy: A State-of-the-Art Approach

Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

School of Social Work


Members of the Rhode Island Parole Board began the day’s hearings at the state’s most secure prison. The facility houses the state’s most recalcitrant inmates and, in a separate wing, those whose notoriety makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to serve their sentences in general population. The board members passed through the institution’s control center and wended their way to the hearing room located deep within the prison. After walking through two sets of secure, electronically-controlled metal doors, they noticed an inmate, dressed in his blue prison uniform, mopping the hallway. The inmate, a former police detective, looked up, stood in his tracks, and instinctively saluted his former commanding officer from the Providence (Rhode Island) Police Department who served on the parole board. It was a poignant and startling moment, a stunning display of a once-celebrated police officer who fell from grace because of a profound moral lapse. We were members of that parole board. Sadly, this was not an isolated event. During our many years on the board we presided at hearings for several other former police officers who traded their law enforcement uniforms for inmate uniforms.