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Friday, May 23, 2014

Week 3 Discussion Follow-up - Criminological Theory.

I believe there are several issues that affect the criminal justice system's ability to fight white collar crime.
The most important one is lack of resources; I don't know if there would be enough even if agencies were devoted 100% to fighting actual crime (a Utopian dream, that), but I do know we waste resources on enforcing 
mala prohibita regulations.  Certainly, officers harassing Open Carry marchers, shutting down little girls' lemonade stands, and shooting the dogs of crime victims cant be investigating crime at the same time.
The second one is that companies will often not cooperate with authorities in pressing charges or in investigating; many times, even though an embezzler is known, the company would rather have the offender return a portion of the money rather then prosecute.
A third problem is that white collar crime often goes unreported;  victims do not want to be embarrassed and admit they got conned.
Compounding all these issues is the perception of white-collar crime as "victimless", even in cases of fraud...which when boiled down to simplicity is theft, and thus a
mala in se crime. "It appears at times that our justice system does not place adequate emphasis on fraud and other white collar crimes especially when it is considered a non-violentvictimless crime. One disturbing fact is how the offense is perceived, not as a criminal offense at all, but as simple bad judgment on the part of victims, by both the general public and by the victims themselves. "(Crimes of Persuasion, 2014, para 3)

So how would I deal with white-collar crime, with current levels of resources?
1.  Shift resources away from buttinsky policy and towards crime (however, I would shift more resources towards combatting violent crime)
2. Select officers for the white-collar crime that understand that theft is theft, no matter who commits it.
3.  At the beginning, I would focus on a "one white-collar crime at a time" tactic. Hopefully, a consistent stream of convictions would begin to wear away the perception of white-collar theft as a victimless crime that police cant or won't solve.

Crimes of Persuasion. (2014) Factors Which Allow The Problem To Continue.Retrieved January 30, 2014 from http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/laws/problems.htm

It is possible to use differential association theory to describe the criminal behavior of Enron's executives. In Sutherland's final version of differential association theory, there are 4 major points. First, that crime is a learned behavior; second, that it is learned from interaction  with participants who hold shared values; third, that participants are members of intimate personal groups ; and finally, that two things are learned, techniques of crime and values/rationales for criminal decsion-making (or as Sutherland terms them, definitions). Finally, the underlying premise of differential association theory is based on culture conflict.
There was a culture amongst the Enron executives that was deviant from the norm. “A lot can be said about the culture that the leaders at Enron created. 'They set the wrong role models, rewarded risky rule breaking and created a ‘win-at-all-cost’ system.” (Khedekar, 2010, p.166). Khedekar further decsries the coporate culture: ”crime was possible as a result of cooperation among senior management (2010, p.168) Criminal behavior could said to be have been learned under the auspices of this culture; as ”employees who followed the culture set by leaders and raked in profits were awarded bonuses while the ones who did not were fired” (Khedekar, 2010, p.166). So yes it is possible to say that crime was a learned behavior at Enron.

Khedekar, D. (2010,October ). Corporate crime: A comparison of culture at Enron and Satyam. Economics & Business Journal:Inquiries & Perspectives :156: Volume 3 :Number 1. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from http://ecedweb.unomaha.edu/EBJIP2010Khedekar.pdf

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