Special Sensitivity? The White-Collar Offender in Prison

Special Sensitivity? The White-Collar Offender in Prison

Special Sensitivity? The White-Collar Offender in Prison

Special Sensitivity? The White-Collar Offender in Prison

Synopsis

Despite recent increases in incarceration for white-collar offenders, little is known about their prison experiences or how they adjust to imprisonment. In the justice system a view has prevailed that white-collar offenders have a "special sensitivity" to imprisonment - that they are more susceptible to the pains of prison. Stadler explores this view to determine how white-collar inmates adjust to life in prison and whether they do so differently than street offenders. Evidence suggests that white-collar inmates are no more likely to experience negative prison adjustment than street offenders, and in some cases, white-collar inmates experienced fewer problems.

Excerpt

Despite federal and state budget shortfalls in recent years, as of 2007 rates of criminal justice supervision and imprisonment in the United States were still on the rise (Glaze & Bonczar, 2009; West & Sabol, 2008). Not surprisingly, more new offenders are being placed under the supervision and control of probation and corrections departments, while repeat offenders are being recycled through the justice system at alarming rates. Though these trends have remained unabated for offenders convicted of the most widely studied conventional, streetlevel crimes, there is also evidence to suggest that the use of imprisonment and severity of legal sanctions for white-collar offenders are also trending in an upward direction. Unfortunately, relatively little is known about the breadth and extent of white-collar crime in America. Even more importantly, less is currently known about the individuals who engage in white-collar crimes and what happens after they are tried and sentenced.

Nearly every day the American public is exposed to a new media report about the reprehensible behavior of another Wall Street tycoon, politician, or public figure. Over the course of the last decade these accounts have revealed a number of high profile cases involving acts of fraud, insider trading, collusion, embezzlement, tax evasion, cover-ups, and so on. Some of the most publicly familiar names of the latter twentieth century have been prosecuted and subsequently convicted for perpetrating white-collar crimes. These include Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernard Ebbers, Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey . . .

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