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NCJ Number: 160869 Find in a Library
Title: Perceived Microeconomic Necessity of Businesses To Commit Environmental Crime
Author(s): J Epstein
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Abt Associates, Inc
Cambridge, MA 02138
Sale Source: Abt Associates, Inc
55 Wheeler Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Changing the widespread perception among businesses that they need to commit environmental crime to stay in business will require intensified education efforts as well as expanded criminal prosecution of select corporate environmental offenders.
Abstract: Economic analysis of environmental-regulatory enforcement and of criminal behavior generally suggest that a company will violate regulations if and only if the expected disposal cost savings exceed the expected penalty, that is, the possible legal sanctions weighted by the probability of apprehension. The stigma of criminal indictment and the threat of incarceration are needed to gain the attention and change the behavior of corporate environmental wrongdoers. Environmental prosecutors sometimes need to "pierce the corporate veil" to reach the legally accountable parties behind a corporation, partnership, or other limited liability business entity created to insulate the real owners and managers from criminal indictment. Incarceration of corporate officers, however, is still rare in environmental cases. This paper lists seven special pressures and obstacles inherent in the prosecution of corporate environmental offenders. Suspected corporate offenders should be made aware of the hidden costs of their crimes, so they can better assess the actual consequences of their actions. Only after businesses have been made aware of and held accountable for the actual costs of their behavior will they realize that there is no microeconomic necessity to commit environmental crime. 17 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Corporate criminal liability; Economic analysis of crime; Environmental offenses; Illegal hazardous waste disposal
Note: A Paper presented at the ASC National Meeting, Boston, November 1995.
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