Crime and Punishment…or No Punishment

A)Huffington Post 2/27/2008 : US Imprisoning More Than 1 In 100 Americans

“For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America‘s rank as the world’s No. 1 incarcerator.

B) Leonard Lopate Show 2/28/2008 : Unfair Crack and Cocaine Sentencing Guidelines

“According to current federal sentencing guidelines, convictions for the sale of 500 grams of powder cocaine – and only 5 grams of crack cocaine – both result in a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence. Jesselyn McCurdy, legislative counsel for the ACLU, explains why this sentencing disparity is unfair and fails to address the larger problem of the drug trade. Karen Garrison is the mother of 2 sons who are each serving long sentences in federal prison for non-violent crack cocaine offenses.”

C) Bloomberg 12/13/2008 : Bush Fraud Probes Jail Corporate Criminals Less Than Two Years

“Median sentences for white-collar crime changed little in the 1990s, holding in a range of 12 to 13 months, commission data shows. That number increased to 15 months in 2001 and reached 18 months last year, reflecting the new guidelines…On July 17, the task force’s five-year anniversary, then- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that the department had obtained 1,236 corporate fraud convictions….”

 

I’ll leave it to someone else to crunch the numbers thrown out in all these stories. It should be obvious that with 1,236 corporate convictions of less then two years, on average, would account for less the 0.0001 percent of the current prison population.

Even the high profile convictions of Enron, Ebbers and Conrad Black do not change the profitability of corporate crime.

From Bloomberg: “Sixteen HealthSouth employees pleaded guilty and helped prosecutors unravel a $2.7 billion accounting fraud that surfaced in 2003. Eleven got no time in prison. Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy was acquitted of accounting fraud charges.”

Ask yourself what the punishment might have been for these sixteen individuals if they were caught selling $2.7 billion of crack or even 2.7 pounds.

Unlike drug use or dealing, corporate fraud is not a victimless crime, so why the lighter sentences??

Crime and the Victim

 

 

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