White-Collar Criminal: The Offender in Business and the Professions

By Gilbert Geis | Go to book overview

27
A STUDY OF INCARCERATED WHITE-
COLLAR OFFENDERS

John C. Spencer

The few major studies of white-collar crime have dealt with the crime rather than the criminal. The very nature of the crime makes this inevitable, since it is easier to study the social institutions to which individuals belong than to gain access to the individuals themselves. The thirty white- collar criminals who constituted the sample for my exploratory study at Leyhill Prison had all been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment by the courts. I took advantage of the availability of a captive population in a prison, recognizing at the same time the limitation of a sample consisting entirely of men who had been apprehended, convicted, and sentenced to imprisonment. Since a basic assumption of this paper has been that white-collar criminals are more likely than ordinary criminals to remain outside the courts, this is a serious limitation. A prevalent attitude of the sample during my interviews at Leyhill was: "We were just careless--doing what everyone else in business does--but we were unlucky."

____________________
Reprinted from John C. Spencer, "White-Collar Crime", in Tadeusz Grygier, Howard Jones , and John C. Spencer (eds.), Criminology in Transition ( London: Tavistock Publications, 1965), pp. 251-264.

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