White-collar criminals cope better with prison life than other inmates
Washington – White-collar criminals, convicted of fraud, embezzlement, tax violation, anti-trust and other business offenses, report no greater level of difficulty adjusting to prison than those in a general prison population, according to a new study.
The research from the University of Cincinnati found that when it comes to specific adjustment issues- problems with cell mates, feelings of safety and general difficulties, white-collar criminals actually report fewer problems than other prison populations.
Michael Benson, professor of criminal justice at UC, said before entering prison, most white-collar criminals are afraid for their safety and terrified about aspects of serving their sentences, but the survey data they mined showed that white-collar criminals have no greater problems adjusting to prison life than other populations. And, in some instances, white-collar criminals seem to cope better.
That’s likely due to the fact that these are people who have been successful in business, understand how a bureaucracy works as well as the need for rules and regulations. They also tend to have social support from families.
The data for the study come from surveys of more than 350 prisoners housed in two federal prisons- one a medium-security prison and one a low-security prison- in Terre Haute, Ind.
The researchers also found that white-collar prisoners were more likely to report having made friends in prison, they were less likely to report general difficulties, were less likely to report a need for safety, and were also less likely to report problems with cell mates.
The study is published in the journal, Justice Quarterly.