Although, serial killers have psychopathic behavior characterized by aggression, the society may have little or no ethical concerns if they are subjects of no ethical guidelines and principles. The ethical issues to be discussed include:
Respect for persons. This demands people to be treated autonomously; therefore, they can make choices on their own deciding whether to participate or not. Serial killers have aggressive behavior, but they also should be accorded autonomy to voluntary decide whether to participate or not.
No harm is to come to the participants. Although, serial killers are detested by society, this should not be a background for subjecting them to any harm whether physical or psychological. Criminal justice research has potential to cause both psychological trauma and physical harm. Serial killers are aggressive; therefore, they might cause physical harm to the researchers. In an effort to control a killer, the use of physical force or sadatives may be condoned which can cause harm to him.
Justice. This is defined as an equal treatment to all. Justice requires fairness to be accorded equally in society. The burdens imposed on a subject during the criminal justice should be compared in relation to expected benefits. Although serial killers have caused more harm to society than contribution, justice should prevail in criminal justice research which is achieved through assessing the risks and benefits of the research.
Finally, the last issue is anonymity and confidentiality. Subjects in a criminal justice research should be accorded anonymity; their identities should not be disclosed. Confidentiality requires that the researcher can associate information with a given person but does not disclose it.
The Milgram obedience experiment carried by Milgram was intended to find out if the defense of carrying out orders was logical by Nazi war criminals. The experiment did not meet ethical requirements as the participating individuals were deceived because they thought they were causing harm to others. Principle of voluntary participation was ignored. This principles and ethics were also ignored in the Tuskegee experiment, where participants were deceived of being given free medical care but were subjected to experiments. The Stanford prison experiment caused serious psychological trauma to the participants that lasted for months and years in some. In this case, the subjects were denied the right of voluntary participation and were subjected to conditions which had serious psychological trauma.