U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Sad Tales - The Accounts of White-Collar Defendants and the Decision To Sanction

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1982
25 pages
In the criminal justice system, as in everyday life, strategies of self-presentation play a critical role. This article examines the accounts convicted white-collar offenders provide while explaining their illegal behavior to federal probation officers.
Accounts are described and classified: then, after a scale reflecting the degree to which they conform to judicial preferences regarding post-conviction explanations is defined, the role accounts play in the sentencing process is identified. Although the content and quality of defendants' stories do not affect sentencing decisions directly, they do materially influence the probation officers' evaluations of defendants. These evaluations are, in turn, a significant factor in the decision to sanction. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1982