Friday, May 11, 2018


[Photo of Sociologist Edwin Sutherland from wikipedia]

In 1939, famous sociologist Edwin Sutherland defined white collar crime as crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.

This definition has been criticized by many other the years since then.  For example, as a part-time criminal justice professor, I have often taken issue with Sutherland's definition because it requires that the crime must have been committed by a person of "high social status" in order to be classified as white collar crime.  In my opinion, even an embezzlement committed by a low level bank teller would constitute white collar crime.

Do you agree? What is your opinion about Sutherland's definition of white collar crime?