In January 2002 James Freeman, President of Hudson Media Corp., a television production company in Alexandria, VA, wrote an editorial entitled Get Tough on Corporate Crime in the Washington Post. The focus of the editorial was that the criminal justice system needs to get tough with corporate criminals. Freeman believes tougher and more harsh punishments can be a deterrent to crime. He uses Texas as an example. He states:
“In a series of studies in recent years, the Texas-based National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) has shown that a move toward longer prison sentences (made possible by a prison-building boom in Texas) tracks very closely with a sharp decline in Texas crime during the 1990s. In a December 2000 report, NCPA notes that the Texas murder rate fell by 57 percent in the 1990s, rape by 26 percent, and the rate of burglary by 48 percent. In each category, crime rates declined faster in Texas than in the nation as a whole.
“Why did the rate of serious crime decrease so fast in Texas?” the report asks. “Certainly a strong case can be made that tougher policies toward criminals played an important part. More people went to prison and stayed there longer. . . . Texas had 704 prisoners per 100,000 population in 1999, compared to 290 per 100,000 in 1990, a 143 percent increase in imprisonment.”
The Texas experience in the 1990s mirrors a national trend that began in the early 1980s. As sentences became longer, as more aggressive law enforcement increased the likelihood of punishment, crime rates began a long downward trend that continues to this day. According to the government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crime rates fell to the “lowest level ever recorded in 2000.” The evidence suggests that harsh punishment does deter crime. For those seeking to eradicate corporate crime, it’s worth considering whether we should make fraud convictions more costly and painful.”
In light of the call for more severe punishment for corporate criminals, do you think reintegrative shaming theory, as discussed in Chapter 8 of the Simpson readings, can be applied as a viable means to punish and rehabilitate corporate criminals? Why or why not?
The primary reference for the essays will be your assigned textbooks:
Criminal Behavior: A Psychological Approach
Author: Curt Bartol, Anne Bartol
Publisher: Prentice Hall