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Myth of Corporate Immunity to Deterrence - Ideology and the Creation of the Invincible Criminal

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 44 Issue: 3 Dated: (September 1985) Pages: 3-9
F T Cullen; P J Dubeck
Date Published
7 pages
This article examines arguments positing an immunity of corporations to legal interventions and suggests that sanctions can provide a means of social control.
Christopher Stone and other critics have argued that legal sanctions are ineffective in the face of immense corporate power and that they also fail to penetrate and transform the criminogenic forces at the core of business organizations. An ancilliary argument suggests that such sanctions also are ineffective because the public is insensitive to the harms of corporate crime and that such sanctions lack public support. However, recent research has revealed a growing awareness of and concern with white-collar crime and increasing mistrust of corporate leaders. Further, studies of corporations sanctioned for criminal misconduct indicate that, while financial impact of sanctions was usually small, most companies made efforts to reduce the possibility of additional legal difficulties, and corporate executives were markedly influenced by the loss of personal and corporate prestige accompanying publicization of wrongdoing. Thus, while there are limits to the efficacy of sanctions, they also show the possibility of effecting meaningful change. 39 references.