San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


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White-collar offenders do not scare people. There is no reason to be afraid of them. Yet, they are subjected to the most serious sanction in our legal system – prison. Every white-collar prisoner costs society over $30,000 annually. Rather than punishing white-collar offenders in a way that further depletes the public revenue, we should compel them to remedy the damage they have caused by paying additional tax. There are more intelligent, evidence-based approaches to dealing with white-collar offenders. The objectives for dealing with white-collar offenders should be to impose penalties that are proportionate to the seriousness of the crimes; ensure that the sanctions do not unnecessarily burden taxpayers and compel offenders to contribute ill-gotten gains back to the community. The proceeds from greed-motivated offenders can be diverted in a community-enhancing manner by compelling them to make additional contributions to the community. This should be achieved by developing two new criminal sanctions. The first is an offender taxation levy. The levy would operate so that two-thirds of all income derived by the offender would be payable as taxation. The total payable would be double the amount wrongfully obtained by the offender. In addition to this, the offender would be required to pay a one-off fine equal to the amount wrongfully obtained by the offender. The second is technological incarceration for serious white-collar offenses. Modern monitoring and sensor technology can be used to physically confine the movements of offenders to precise locations while monitoring their actions in real-time to greatly diminish the prospect of offending. The sanction can be operationalized in a number of different ways so that it is tailored to match the severity of the crime. Not only can the length of the monitoring be varied but the area of confinement can also be controlled. These reforms would enhance the integrity of the criminal justice system and increase public revenue – freeing up funding for the provision of important societal services and goods.