Punishment as Paperwork: White-Collar Offenders Under Community Supervision

Karen A. Mason, Washington State University

ABSTRACT
Little is known about how white-collar offenders react to community supervision. Discussions of community supervision as a form of sanction for white-collar offenders are usually presented as an example of the lenient treatment afforded to these privileged offenders. Research on the relationship between treatment and class position has found that the shared class and cultural background among criminal justice practitioners and white-collar probationers is a source of empathy and affects the supervision given to these offenders. However, no research has investigated the experiences of the offenders to examine how supervision affects their lives. Using data from in-depth interviews with 35 white-collar offenders the impact and affect of community supervision is presented. The reactions of the offenders are used to discuss how changes in the broader filed of corrections have influenced the traditional implementation of community supervision. The paper concludes with an examination of the utility of community corrections for white-collar offenders.

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Updated 05/20/2006