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 »

Why Private Prisons Do Not Save Money
This presentation, which looks at the overhead costs of private prisons, was done in 2008 and subsequently became a chapter in Punishment for Sale (co-authored with Donna Selman). At that time, Dana Radatz was my graduate assistant who was very helpful in collecting the data and organizing it in a meaningful way. Why Private Prisons Do Not Save Money: Overhead Costs and Executive PayDownload .pdf of presentationDownload .pptx of presentation RELATEDPrison Privatization in US and Japan (2014 presentation and information on Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Center - a Japanese high-tech, public-private partnership) The problems with private prisons (2011 and 2013 presentations) ... 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 »

We Need A Post-Warehouse Prison: Learning from Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Center
"Interesting" is the comment I hear most frequently when presenting this new line of research. That's exactly what I said when I came across it and what motivated me to explore further this high-tech, public private partnership prison/rehabilitation center that strives to be a good partner to the community. Their literature mentions the idea of creating "prisons the public could understand and support." I've continued to study Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Center because it is also important. In working to create what they call a model prison for the next 50 years, the Japanese studied privatization and rehabilitation; they went through the... 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Scam scam scam scam
Back when I was in grad school at American University, I ended up working with Jeff Reiman on what would become the 4th edition of his book, The Rich Get Richer & the Poor Get Prison. That turned into work on the 5th, 6th, 7th and the 8th edition (which will be out later this month o in August). Obviously there's something to the book and the thesis. Being involved in the book has given me an appreciation for scams, especially by those who are powerful and wealthy. There are a few items I've collected recently on this topic. Not... continue reading »