Changes in Sentencing Patterns for White-Collar Criminals in Finland

Ahti Laitinen, University of Turku, Calonia

The purpose of this study is to analyze the development of sentences which have been handed down for white-collar crimes in Finland. The court decisions that have been gathered at the beginning of the 1990s are being compared to the material of more than a thousand sentences from the years 1999-2000. The material consists of the sentences of both the lower courts of justice and the courts of appeal. The material comprises all the sentences of the period studied. In the study which took place about ten years ago the result was obtained that the sentences were either slight fines (about on the average 350 dollars) in the majority of cases or in about 10 per cent of the cases prison sentences of under a year. After this, the investigation of white-collar crimes has been intensified. For example, the number of police officers focusing on white-collar offences has been increased. However, according to the opinions of citizens, the punishments ought to be stricter. With the help of the current study it will be possible to clarify how the legal praxis has changed--if it has changed at all. An internatinal comparison will be made, too.

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Updated 05/20/2006