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Social Safety Net or Social Hammock? Applying Deterrence Theory to Reduce the Severity of the Food Stamp Fraud Crisis in America

NCJ Number
Internet Journal of Criminology Dated: 2012
Billy Long; Karen Hiltz
Date Published
23 pages
In a time of unstable economic environments at all levels of government, many officials are seeking ways to balance budgets and put fiscal houses in order.
Due to massive government debt in the United States, serious attempts are being made to cut budgets, particularly programs that are fraught with waste, fraud, and abuse. Food stamp fraud, while historically ignored in the United States, will soon become a target for budget cutting and increased law enforcement. This crime, as well as the perpetrators who commit it, are compatible with the propositions of deterrence theory. It is argued here that given the nature of this crime, enhanced sanctions can reduce its frequency and severity. Deterrence theory is outlined and policy implications are discussed. (Published Abstract)