skip navigation

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

  NCJ Number: NCJ 242676     Find in a Library
  Title: Lessons of Disloyalty in the World of Criminal Informants
  Author(s): Michael L. Rich
  Journal: American Criminal Law Review  Volume:49  Issue:3  Dated:Summer 2012  Pages:1493 to 1539
  Date Published: 2012
  Page Count: 47
  Annotation: This article examines how the concept of disloyalty functions in law enforcement’s use of criminal informants.
  Abstract: This article examines the importance of criminal informants to law enforcement investigations and how the concept of disloyalty functions in this arena. The article has three main sections. The first portion of the article presents a philosophical discussion of the concepts of loyalty and disloyalty, the value of loyalty, and the moral status of disloyalty. The discussion centers on the contradiction between the need for law enforcement to use criminal informants and the criminal informants’ need to be disloyal to their organizations in order to be a successful informant, and society’s reaction to this contradiction. The second section of the article presents three scenarios that examine the concept of disloyalty in specific informant situations: the criminal who provides information about an accomplice to the police; specific communities that discourage their members from assisting the police; and informing in parts of society where specific community pressures against informing do not exist. Following this discussion of loyalty/disloyalty, the author presents three policy recommendations for use by police departments, prosecutors’ offices, and legislators: 1) the development of explicit consideration of loyalty/disloyalty issues in police and prosecutorial guidelines regarding the use of informants; 2) consideration of community-specific norms in the use of informants, especially in communities with strong anti-cooperation moral codes; and 3) restriction on the creation and enforcement of minor offenses the encourage citizens to inform on those who commit minor violations.
  Main Term(s): Informants
  Index Term(s): Code of ethics ; Community support ; Police community relations ; Criminal methods ; Criminal investigation ; Criminal justice ideologies ; Criminal justice system effectiveness
  Publisher URL: 
  Type: Research Paper
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.