Criminology and the Criminal Justice System
White Collar and Political Crimes
I am a criminologist and I have been hired to assist the Farm Workers Union. The Union is making allegations that each year thousands of farm workers are sickened by exposure to pesticides used on the farms where they work. Exposure is said to occur when the workers are in the fields and helicopters spray the nearby fields. However, the industry is aware of the problem, but continues the practice. The government considers the problem of pesticide drift a statistically small one compared to the total amount of pesticide applications. It is my job to help ease the situation regarding the Union’s frustration at the apparent collusion between the industry and government. The questions that I will be addressing are whether or not the farm industry is committing a crime, why or why not? Is the government committing a crime? Why or why not? In my observation if I discover that no crime was committed then I will address as to where the farm workers will be able to obtain relief from. I then will discuss the historical success of other employees working in unsafe conditions and if they have gained any kind of relief from their past exposure.
In the above situation the law tries to balance between the need to protect the workers and the fact that the jobs they chose are inherently dangerous. Where there may be criminal liability is not for the government directly but for the government agents who make decisions or furnish reports upon which decisions and policy are made that are flawed and deliberately hide facts. There you have criminal acts of an individual for fraud, bribery, and abuse of power. It is the job of the criminologist to find out what the problem is and how can we fix it in order for this type of situation to prevent it from happening again. It is in the best interest of the accused to have their problems solved and let it be known as to who is at fault for the crimes, whether it be the farm industry or even the government. In order for the problem to be solved in relation to this week’s readings and discussion there needs to be some discussion as to what white color crimes and political crimes are and how they relate to the situation.
Some early critics argued that behavior that does not violate criminal law should not be considered a crime, no matter how harmful it may be. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) White collar crimes are 'the art of deliberate deception for unlawful gain' (2009) which is more commonly known as Fraud. White color crimes are crimes committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation. White-Collar Crime is illegal acts such as fraud, concealment, or a violation of trust that are not dependent upon the threat of physical force or violence. These acts are committed by individuals and organizations to obtain money, property, or services; to avoid the payment or loss of money or services; or to secure a personal, political, or business advantage. There are several types of white color crimes; such as economic crimes, financial institution fraud, government fraud, and public corruption. Historically, a political crime refers to a conspiracy, and the actual deed of challenges to political rulers or sacred authority. One could say that all crimes are political crimes because all crimes by definition violate criminal laws passed by legislative bodies. A political crime is one involving overt acts or omissions (where there is a duty to act), which prejudice the interests of the state, its government or the political system. It is to be distinguished from state crime when it is the states that break both their own criminal laws and/or public international law (Ross, 2000).. The State's responsibility is to its people and its mandate is the constitution and any threat, real or...