SPECIFIC DETERRENCE IN A SAMPLE OF OFFENDERS CONVICTED OF WHITE COLLAR CRIMES

DAVID WEISBURD*, ELIN WARING, ELLEN CHAYET

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is generally argued that white‐collar criminals will be particularly influenced by punishment policies. White‐collar crime is seen as a highly rational form of criminality, in which the risks and rewards are carefully evaluated by potential offenders, and white‐collar criminals are assumed to have much more to lose through sanctions than more common law violators. In this article we examine the impact of sanctions on the criminal careers of 742 offenders convicted of white‐collar crimes in seven US. district courts between fiscal years 1976 and 1978. Utilizing data on court‐imposed sanctions originally compiled by Wheeler et al. (1988b), as well as information on subsequent criminal behavior provided by the Identification Bureau of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we assess the effect of imprisonment upon the oficial criminal records of people convicted of white‐collar crimes. Comparing prison and no‐prison groups that were matched in terms of factors that led to their receipt of a prison sanction, we find that prison does not have a specific deterrent impact upon the likelihood of rearrest over a 126‐month follow‐up period.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)587-607
Number of pages21
JournalCriminology
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1995

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