A Tale of Two Crimes: An Analysis of Criminal Sentencing of White-Collar and Street Offenders
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Though a long-standing history of scholarship has sought to understand the potential for disparities in criminal punishment based on ascribed status characteristics, contemporary research has largely ignored the ways in which punishment outcomes varies across offenders convicted of offenses traditionally viewed as either white-collar or street crimes. Using data from United States federal district courts from fiscal years 2008-2010, this research expands upon current knowledge by comparing embezzlement and larceny offenders in federal criminal courts across a variety of punishment processes and outcomes. The findings suggest a substantial degree of variation in punishment severity between embezzlement and larceny offenders across modes of punishment. Generally, the question of whether white-collar offenders are treated severely, leniently, or about the same as compared to non-violent property offenders is largely dependent upon the outcome of interest and the specific types of offenses included in the analysis.