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Specific Deterrence in a Sample of Offenders Convicted of White-Collar Crimes

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1995
19 pages
This study examined the impact of sanctions on the criminal careers of 742 offenders convicted of white-collar crimes in seven U.S. district courts between fiscal years 1976 and 1978.
Policymakers and legislators generally argue that white- collar criminals will be particularly influenced by punishment policies. White-collar crime is viewed 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. Using 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, this study assessed the effect of imprisonment on the official 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, the study found that prison did not have a specific deterrent impact on the likelihood of rearrest over a 126-month follow-up period. 4 tables and 67 references

Date Published: January 1, 1995