How Does the Criminal Justice System Respond to White Collar and Corporate Crime?

2543 Words Mar 6th, 2012 11 Pages
HOW DOES THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM RESPOND TO WHITE COLLAR
AND CORPORATE CRIME?

White-collar crime poses a vexing problem for the criminal justice system (CJS). It is an
enormously complex global issue that is growing rapidly and is a cross-border problem.
White-collar crime is viewed differently in contrast to conventional crime as generally the
public associate crime with street crimes such as robbery, burglary or homicide. Affluent
and privileged persons who enjoy an elevated social status and who engage in crimes are
rarely considered by the public.

This paper discusses various ways in which the CJS addresses white-collar crime. Firstly,
the definition, types and characteristics of white-collar crime will be examined.
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Victims can be an individual, a group of individuals, (such as customers of a bank), or an organization and any of them may experience astronomical financial losses (Hayes & Prenzler, 2009). Some of the most notorious examples of the harmful effect of white-collar crime is the collapse of the US company Enron, with losses of over USD$50 billion (Friedrichs, 2004) and in Australia, the collapse of insurer HIH Insurance with losses of over A$4 billion (HIH Royal Commission, 2003. cited in Hayes & Prenzler, 2009). Research indicates that crimes of this magnitude play a vital role in causing or contributing

to a range of psychological disorders, including suicide, among its victims. However, it
appears that the Australian justice system concerns itself primarily with the financial losses
experienced by white-collar crime victims (ABS, 2006).

The public may not perceive white-collar crimes as criminal due to the ‘respectability’ or
the status of the perpetrators. To establish whether a crime has been committed can be a
costly affair as the crime may be very well hidden or involve convoluted paper-trails. The
amount of time and persons involved in this discovery makes the task onerous. Consequently, it is difficult to measure or prosecute white-collar crime because it is expensive and is a long drawn out process.

Thirdly, the power and responsibilities of the CJS are divided into three arms that operate
autonomously from each other to…

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