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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229717 Find in a Library
Title: Equal Treatment in Swedish Economic Crime Investigations: Do Professional Specialization and the Suspect's Social Background Matter?
Journal: Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention  Volume:10  Issue:2  Dated:2009  Pages:76-101
Author(s): Johan Kardell; Martin Bergqvist
Date Published: 2009
Page Count: 26
Document: HTML (Publisher Site)
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study examined whether different social groups in Sweden received differential treatment in the Swedish judicial system and whether these differences were affected by the suspect's social background and the degree of specialization by the investigating officers.
Abstract: Although equality before the law is one of the fundamental principles of modern democracy, current Western research has shown that discrimination exists within the justice system when enforcing traditional crimes. However, in Scandinavian research on economic crime, the question of equal treatment has been neglected. Based on Swedish data of suspected offenders during 2003, this study examined whether different social groups received differential treatment in investigations of traditional and economic crimes. Further, it compared the Regular Police with the Economic Crimes Bureau (ECB) to examine whether the professional specialization of street-level bureaucrats influence the occurrence of differential treatment. It also examined the efficiency of the authorities and more specifically to what extent they issue a waiver of prosecution, a prosecutor's fine, or a court indictment. Besides supporting earlier research on traditional crime, the results show that differential treatment also exists in relation to economic crime, but the patterns of differential treatment are not identical with the ones for traditional crimes. It was also found that the two agencies, the ECB and the Regular Police, treat diverse social groups differently. Although the ECB is somewhat more efficient, professional specialization does not appear to be an important factor concerning the issue of differential treatment. It exists regardless of investigating authority. Further action is being taken more often in relation to men and those with a lower level of education at both agencies. However, in some cases the suspect's background does have a different effect on the work of the two agencies, with the ECB less often taking further action against 'Swedes' and those on 'high incomes', while the Regular Police less often take further action against 'immigrants' and those on 'low and middle incomes'. Tables, references, and appendixes (Published Abstract)
Main Term(s): Criminal investigation
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system analysis; Criminal justice system effectiveness; Discrimination; Foreign criminal justice systems; Investigative techniques; Sentencing disparity; Specialized investigative units; Sweden; White collar crime
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