U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Private Military Contractors, Crime, and the Terrain of Unaccountability

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 27 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2010 Pages: 593-617
Dawn L. Rothe; Jeffrey Ian Ross
Date Published
August 2010
25 pages
This study identified factors that make possible the criminogenic environment within which private military contractors operate.
Criminological research has traditionally attempted to explain the etiological factors of crime and then suggest appropriate controls. More often than not, the foci of this kind of work have remained on "street crime." Since the 1990s, however, some scholars have turned their attention to the causal factors of corporate crime, state crime, crimes of globalization, supranational crimes, and their various permutations and interconnections. Clearly missing from this literature is the growing phenomenon of private military contractors (PMCs) and the crimogenic culture of and atmosphere within which they operate. Specifically, while the use of PMCs is rapidly growing, the increasing propensity for PMC's crimogenic culture and the unregulated nature of what has become a global industry is rarely studied by social scientists. Further, few criminologists have examined this area of research by applying criminological theory to explain the growth and emergence of PMCs. Our goal is to help fill this gap. Through the process of theory building and refinement we identify factors that facilitate the criminogenic environment within which PMCs operate. Additionally, without attempting to expand explanatory and causal mechanisms, policies aimed at reducing PMC criminality and social justice for their victims cannot be developed. As such, the authors draw from theoretical developments in State and State-corporate crime, social disorganization, and anomie literature to shed light on key factors associated with PMCs, namely, the crimogenic atmosphere within which they operate. Figures, references, and appendix (Published Abstract)