Why Is There No Criminology of Wage Theft?
I used the 2016 American Society of Criminology Conference to present on a new line of research. Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Cambria",serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Why is there no criminology of wage theft? (wrongful withholding of $50 billion of wages earned) Wage theft, also known as wage and hour violations, happen when employers do not pay employees for all the hours they worked, do not pay them time and a half for overtime, make wrongful... continue reading »

Crime and Mass Incarceration: Reform or a 'New Normal'
The folks over at University of Michigan's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) asked to come back for another lecture.I had been doing some research for the 11th edition of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison to update the opening of the book. It will be/came out Oct 2016 and I'm skeptical about how much will be accomplished. But see what you think. 1. Here is the incarceration rate, to show how much has been accomplished so far; it may or may not match the amount of bipartisan hype about the need for sentencing reform.   2. So what are... continue reading »

#YikYak: It’s not all bad; but, yes there are some bad parts & some actions we can take
I started using Yik Yak late in 2014, mostly to get a different look at my students on campus. Life for students has changed a lot since I started teaching here, let alone since I was an undergrad. I was drawn in by some posts about rape and domestic violence - topic that overlap with my teaching, writing,  presenting and serving. I've been on it since and was asked to present about it. That turned into a revised and expanded version that's available here. This draws exclusively on "the heard" at EMU, so parts of it are not applicable to... continue reading »

Mass salmonella poisoning by the Peanut Corporation of America [UPDATE 2]
When nine people died and 4,000 products were recalled because of salmonella in peanuts, my years of writing and teaching about white collar crime told me there was significant wrongdoing here. Unfortunately, media did not really put together a long form narrative, so I have put this together over time with some help and encouragement. UPDATE 1: The jury has convicted the ringleaders at PCA and found them guilty on many counts, which is good and what they deserved. News stories tend to have a quote about how this will send a message to other food producers. I think the... continue reading »

Why Inequality Matters for Criminology and Criminal Justice
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to present at the ISA's World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama, Japan in July. This presentation builds on and updates some earlier ones (listed in the RELATED section below).  ABSTRACT: The presenter, a co-author of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, will focus on economic inequality, which receives less attention than race or gender. This paper will start by  providing an overview of economic inequality in several developed nations before discussing several ways to conceptualize the inequality between natural and corporate persons. Next, the presentation will summarize the links... continue reading »

Manifestations of Poverty (lecture): The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison
The Honors College at EMU held a series of lectures this past year under the theme of 'Manifestations of Poverty.' I had the privilege of presenting the first lecture, highlighting the justice - and criminal justice - issues surrounding poverty and inequality. Part one of this lecture looks at various measures of inequality in income and wealth, including how corporate 'persons' factor in. Part two looks at how inequality impacts criminology and criminal justice. The lecture makes extensive use of Occupy Wall St posters (via The presentation is embedded below, followed by links for the .pdf, .pptx and the... continue reading »

Understanding Domestic Violence
Last semester, a colleague invited me to do a presentation on Domestic Violence for her into to women and gender studies class. It was a good opportunity to draw on my teaching, service on the board of SafeHouse, and interest in art by survivors of domestic violence to create a presentation. Enjoy and feel free to use it if you think it will be useful. It covers some of the basics and I hope to add to it over the long run.  Understanding Domestic Violence: Why You Should Care, What You Should Know and How to Help  Download .pdf of presentation... continue reading »

Understanding Domestic Violence: Why should medical students care, what should they know and do
I spoke over at the University of Michigan's Medical School to a student organization about domestic violence. I like how the presentation came out, with T-shirts and art by survivors liberally inserted with content and links. Because of the pictures, the original files are a bit large, but feel free to download, use, update. Understanding Domestic Violence: Why should medical students care, what should they know and doDownload .pdf of presentation (2MB)Download presentation as .pptx  (22MB)Read on Scribd... continue reading »

The Problems with Private Prisons
I have followed up my co-authored Punishment for Sale book by giving several presentations, which I have posted below. The first is a general overview of concerns and critiques about private prisons that I presented at the International Criminology Congress in Kobe, Japan in 2011. The second is one I did for a statewide forum on prison privatization, mass incarceration and prison reform here in Michigan in 2013. While the latter is more specific in focusing on Michigan, its analysis is applicable to other states.  The problems with private Prisons (2011 - International Criminology Congress) Problems With Private Prisons (2011)In... continue reading »

Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons and an Impoversihed Discipline
My presentation at the 2012 American Society of Criminology conference was entitled Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons and an Impoverished Discipline (#occupy). It is a condensed and updated version of the Sidore lecture I gave, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime. ABSTRACT:Criminology generally does not collect data on class, which is more likely to be "controlled” for than explained. The discipline is interested in psychopaths engaged in street crime but not white collar crime or the harms done by corporate “persons” who act without conscience. Strain theory is taught without... continue reading »

Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime Presentation
I had the pleasure of being invited to give the Saul Sidore lecture at Plymouth State University last week. It was titled The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime. The first part of the lecture is an overview of class, including income, wealth, economic mobility and corporate power. It is descriptive rather than making a moral or justice argument (although it does report on some surveys on our feelings about inequality). The second part discusses implications of inequality for criminology based on Braithwaite's idea that inequality worsens both crimes of poverty motivated by need... continue reading »

Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business and the Incarceration Binge
One of my offline projects has been a book on private prisons I've been writing with my friend and colleague Donna Selman. I'm pleased to say the book is now out and available: Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business and the Incarceration Binge (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010). Those who have been reading the blog, my websites or other books will not be surprised that the book is critical of the impact for-profit, Wall Street traded, multi-billion dollar international prison business have had on justice and public safety.The book is relatively short (240 pages) and cheap (about $25 new). (more... continue reading »

A Professor of White Collar Crime Reviews USA's 'White Collar' series
A standard critique of media portrayals of crime includes an over-emphasis on street crime compared to white collar crime. Yes, the law also emphasizes street crime over white collar crime -- the the summary of Ch 2 of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison -- but the media goes even further. When was the last time COPS, Law & Order, CSi, etc dealt with a white collar crime? Sometimes rich people end up on the show, but usually for committing a homicide or other street crime, not for corporate acts that harm workers, consumers, the environment and/or... continue reading »

Inactivity Online, 3 books finished offline
It's been a while since I posted here because I have been working hard on some book projects that required my attention and had deadlines. Some authors seem to do well posting bits of their book online, and that's a skill I obviously have not developed. That's also partly because of the time crunch and hassles as multiple books work through the process and come back with questions, permission hassles, length issues, etc. But here's the rundown:1. The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 9th ed.  I've been working with Jeff Reiman on this since the 4th edition... continue reading »

Memo to Presidential Candidates on the Financial Crisis
Both candidates did a lousy job in last night's debate discussing the current financial crisis. From having talked about it here for the last few weeks, I have a modest suggestion on how to talk about it to the American people in a way that may instill confidence. 1. Recognize how important this is - if the financial crisis doesn't get resolved favorably, then it will be impossible to do anything. Health care reform and use of our military will be much harder if we're in a Depression. 2. You need to make sure that $700 billion is well spent. Priority... continue reading »

White Collar Crime Review - Oct 1
"Wall St Incompetence Tax", Continued Last week, the proposed bailout was the big news and the bare bones, 3 page plan for a $700 billion bailout package was being fleshed out. One commentator quoted a Wall St Journal story that Treasury Secretary "Paulson cautioned lawmakers against letting the plan get bogged down in a debate over unnecessary additions." The commentator adds: "'Unnecessary additions' - things like accountability, transparency, making sure that the crisis does not happen again, and making sure that it solves the underlying problem."The revised plan grew to 110 pages and started to include a few items to... continue reading »

Domestic Violence Survivor Art
I'm on the Board of our local domestic violence shelter, SafeHouse, and was down there tonight to help with the start of training. Seeing the T-shirts made by survivors, reminded me I had this I took a while ago with my cell phone.  [click for a slightly larger version]  I took his one while I was there this time...[click for a larger version] With the economy in Southeast Michigan a bit worse than average for the nation, the SaftHouse budget is under stress (understatements all around). For anyone who is interested, here info on donations - and you can also... continue reading »

White Collar Crime Review - Sept 24
$700 Billion Bailout / "Wall St Incompetence Tax" for TaxpayersThe big news this week is the proposed $700 billion agency, funded by taxpayer $, to buy troubled debt and rescue the financial system.  The NY Times has the text of the original bill, which is worth considering even though Congress is likely to demand changes. (Hat tip to the Big Picture for the "incompetence tax" phrase.) Some of the key provisions and criticisms include:$700 billionThe proposed text:Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any... continue reading »

White Collar Crime Review - Sept 17
Last week I started a White Collar Crime review as part of a class on white collar crime I am teaching, and here's an update on elite deviance, abuses of power, etc that's happened in the last week. Before the review, a quick example of what Friedrich's Trusted Criminals book means by 'normal accident.' Remember that this is how human responsibility for the failure of complex systems becomes erased, so failures seem like 'normal accidents' (no one to blame here, move along). I mentioned the current financial crisis and Barry Ritholtz, who was chief investment strategist  for an investment firm... continue reading »

White Collar Crime Review - Sept 10
Now that I'm teaching a class on white collar crime, I hope to periodically post collections of links about white collar crime, elite deviance and abuses of power. Fannie Mae - Freddie Mac BailoutThe government announced the takeover of these two institutions, which own or guarantee between $5 and $6 billion in mortgages. They were GSEs - government sponsored entities - so they already had some government involvement, but now it is total. (Everything you might want to know is collected in the links here.) This raises questions about free markets and whether how much this will cost taxpayers, which... continue reading »

Getting Tough on Corporate Crime? Paul's Talk on YouTube (plus some comments on subprime wrongdoing)
Back in 2004, I had the opportunity to write a piece with Jeffrey Reiman, A Tale of Two Criminals: We’re Tougher on Corporate Criminals, But They Still Don’t Get What They Deserve. It grew out of several invited lectures I gave, including a  Distinguished Visiting Faculty Lecture at Eastern Kentucky University. The folks there recorded the lecture and have just posted it on YouTube. If the embedded player doesn't work, here's the link for the playlist (six parts of about 10 minutes each). And just to make sure it's accessible - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part... continue reading »

Corrections Corporation of America Votes Down Transparency on Political Donations
As part of work for a new project (more details to come soon), I've been reviewing the Securities and Exchange Commission filings of the Corrections Corporation of America, which is the largest private prison company in the US. Each year, companies traded ont he stock exchange have annual meetings where shareholders get to vote on issues related to governance, which are reported in form 14A (definitive proxy). For 2007, the following proposal by a group of activist shareholder nuns caught my eye. What's in the box below is the exact writeup from CCA's 2007 14A (see p 29-31):  PROPOSAL 5... continue reading »

Domestic Violence Awareness Month & Survivor Art
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month there was a candlelight vigil at SafeHouse, where I am a Board member. That's motivated me to finally get this post together and upload some pictures I've taken of the survivor artwork they have.The usual question is "Why Does She Stay?" but we know the real question should be "Why Is He Violent?" Still, if this is the question you have, then read Why (Some) Women (Sometimes) Stay.  The issue is changing men's behavior, so I'd suggest checking out the resources on about Men Working to End Violence Against Women.  For anyone... continue reading »

U.K. Corporate Manslaughter Statute
The U.S. tends to believe it can only teach the rest of the world and is slow to realize we may be able to learn something. I'm thinking specifically here about the Corporte Manslaughter Act passed by the English Parliament over the summer - something not even mentioned in the American press (Apparently not part of 'all the news fit to print'...)According to one write-up that has a good Q & A:The current law links a company's guilt to the gross negligence of an individual who is said to be the embodiment of the company. It has proved very difficult... continue reading »

Corrections Corporation of America (CXW): Hot Stock or High-Debt Timebomb?
Last fall, I continued by studies of private prisons by reading through some of the Securities and Exchange Commission filings for the Corrections Corporation of America (ticker: CXW). I was interested in looking at the overhead costs to get a better sense of why private prisons don't save much money over state run prisons. (For those wanting the quick answe, check out the Why Private prisons Don't Save Money page I made.)What's interesting is looking at the chart of their stock price, especially in light of discussion on various websites about how they're a hot stock and gaining rapidly. I... continue reading »

Columbus Day: A Critique of Celebrating Colonialism
This is the introduction to Chapter 7 on Victims and Victimology of the Class, Race, Gender and Crime book I co-authored (available at the end of this month). Because the deprivations of some minorities have been so extensive and/or are so profound, some argue that these social relations or conditions amount to “genocide,” a powerful word used to describe extreme cases of mass violence and victimization whose derivation comes from the Latin cide (kill) and the Greek genos (race or tribe). The underlying concept of genocide involves an attempt to exterminate a group that shares common characteristics and a common identity.... continue reading »

TicketBastards (TicketMaster Sucks)
While reading the Big Picture Blog's Linkfest, I saw a headline "Concert Giant Sees Cutting prices as Ticket to Success" (LA Times, 9/26/2006).Right on. (Well, maybe; it doesn't look quite as good as you keep reading) The article notes that average concert prices are now $57 per ticket, and some people feel this is causing people to attend fewer concerts or skip them all together. LiveNation, Inc CEO Rapino wants to lower prices and is battling TicketMaster to do that.  But to make good on his promise, Rapino must wrest power from Ticketmaster, a near-monopoly that built its empire locking... continue reading »

Ebbers' 25 Year Sentence for Worldcom Fraud Upheld. Good.
I'll confess to being a little frusted that after finishing page proofs on Class, Race, Gender and Crime, important events happen. But a function of this blog is to fill in the gaps between books and editions, as well as to have a conversation about the excellent questions raised by the White Collar Crime Prof Blog as well as the Second Circuit Sentencing Blog. Much of the attention around corporate fraud has been centered on Enron, which declared the largest corporate bankruptcy in history because of an orgy of multifaceted fraud. When "Worldcon" declared bankruptcy a month or so later,... continue reading »

Current Projects (Apologies for Light Posting Recently)
In the first posting of this blog, I used the opening from my forthcoming book, Class, Race, Gender & Crime. I've been busy going through the page proofs, which are the last chance to correct errors. It's actually difficult to look carefully at each sentence at this point because I've been through it so many times with writing, editing and copyediting (dealing with the editors questions and approving or rejecting their suggestions). But it is email off to the publisher now and we're wrapping up eveything. After what seems like hundreds of emails (but is probably a few dozen), we... continue reading »

Judge Removed from Indian Trust Case for Saying Interior Dept. Is Racist
File this under the general heading of speaking uncomfortable truths to power, or maybe 'what happens when the facts are biased.' The US govt, through the Interior Dept, collects royalties from mining and oil drilling on Indian reservations and is supposed to distribute the money to Native Americans. But they we doing a half-assed job what the court says was/is such a "hopelessly inept" job that Indians filed a class action to get them to do an audit and take an actual accounting of how much is owed to the native people. Almost ten years later, the case is still... continue reading »