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Class and Crime

Definition Of Crime, Measuring Crime, Definition Of Class, Early Work, Shifts In Focus

The longstanding controversy over the importance of social class in the production of criminal conduct is often an argument over the meaning of class and the measurement of crime. Criminal conduct is far from a unitary phenomenon. In general, for a crime to be committed, there must be some intentional conduct that is prohibited by a criminal law. Occasionally, the law may require specific conduct such as filing a tax return. Under these circumstances, a lawmaking body can create a link between class and crime simply by making rules designed to control the conduct of the rich or the poor. If the legislature creates a law making it a crime to be found in public without money or a permanent address, they will have created a link between poverty and crime. If they make it a crime to engage in "insider trading" on the stock market, they will have created a crime that is almost certain to involve those with access to management decisions that might change stock prices. This kind of law would create a link between wealth and crime.

ROLAND CHILTON

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law