Comparison of Literature

The papers, “The Mark of a Criminal Record” by Devah Pager, “Public Perceptions of White Collar Crime Culpability: Bribery, Perjury, And Fraud” by Stuart P. Green and
Matthew B. Kugler and “Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct” by Ronald Weitzer and Steven A. Tuch, are to some extent related. The themes and the objectives of the studies provide the striking relationships. The essay will discuss the extent of the correlation between the articles through comparison. The paper aims to clarify the similarities that include the ambiguity of different cases under study in all three pieces of literature, misinterpretation of certain ideas and concepts, as well as the similarity of cutting issues in two papers (“The Mark of a Criminal Record”and“Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct”). Elaboration of the differences that arise from the methodology and content of the findings will also take place.

In his article, Pager tries to highlight the effects of criminal offences on the modern society, general living standard, as well as perception of their public influence on the individual who is involved in some activity. As clear shown in this article, a criminal record can cause an individual’s stratification, especially in the labor market, and, thus, negatively affect his financial being (Pager, 2001).  In the absence of any other comparison criteria between two individuals seeking for the same job position within one company, criminal record could easily disqualify an individual. This basic assumption neglects the probability that a criminal can change his path and be an asset to his company. This brings up a kind of inequality between the job candidates. With the evolution in crime policies, the government introduced a very strict punishment for wider range of offences. Similar case of ambiguity arises in the paper “Public Perceptions of White Collar Crime Culpability: Bribery, Perjury, And Fraud”. It critically reviews several issues arising from fundamental moral perceptions that lead to differentiating between white-collar crimes and blue-collar crimes. In this case, blue-collar crimes are associated with violence, while white-collar crimes are those considered ‘negotiated’. Criminal offences such as bribery, gratuities, perjury, false statements, and fraud are treated with relatively less criminal concern compared to common street offenses. The way these crimes are handled justifies the matter as of moral ambiguity.

“Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct”analyses the issues that influence the perspective on police misconducts. This includes personal experiences with the police, general perceptions that people have from secondary experiences like media coverage, and neighborhood conditions.  As it emerged from the study, race strongly influences the feelings towards police misconduct. Blacks and Hispanics tend to have relatively unfriendly relationship with the police compared to their White counterparts. The Whites tend to be inclined toward the notion that the police misconduct does not exist and that case of corruption, excessive use of force, verbal abuse, and unnecessary stops are rare (Schholz et al, 2002). Blacks and Hispanics base their claims on the experiences with the police in their cities and neighborhoods. In addition to race disparities, there also are differences in the rate of abuse recurrence that result in such perceptions. This is evident with the case of Hispanics being less likely to report police misconduct in cases of corruption and verbal abuse as compared to the Blacks. The issue of racial disparity is also evident in the paper “The Mark of a Criminal Record”. About a third of the released prisoners go back to jail for new offences with poor neighborhoods, little social control, and poor family upbringing being some of the contributing factor.  Statistics shows that the number of young black citizens committing crimes is high in comparison to white peers. Most of the black inmates were formerly serving jail terms for criminal offences; and these people face many difficulties when they return to the society and try to improve their economic status. They feel marginalized and disgraced due to their criminal record.

The findings from “Public Perceptions Of White Collar Crime Culpability: Bribery, Perjury, And Fraud” illustrates consistency with the researchers’ expectations that people tend to  follow the same behavior patterns when distinguishing white-collar crimes of the same degree, but different punishments under the current law. For instance in the case of perjury, the research found that the subjects in study had a deviated perception of gravity, a case of lying to police under no oath and lying in court under oath (Green, 2006). This notion is also similar to the findings from the paper “The Mark of a Criminal Record”.Most people who are incarcerated tend to go back to crime upon release from jail. This is due to the fact they cannot meet ethical standards due to criminal records. Hence, recruiters are reluctant to employ them. This is a case of divergent thoughts and misinterpretation.

Some striking differences in the papers are also evident.  The paper “Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct” outlines that mass media coverage of police misconducts influences various perceptions. People who often see, hear, or read about cases of police misconduct tend to perceive that the occurrence is common in their residential areas and environment irrespective of their racial background ( Doob & Glenn, 1979)..  Neighborhood conditions are another factor influencing the perception of police misconduct. Those neighborhoods with frequent security concerns such as drug dealing, robbery, and rape crimes record higher likelihood of police misconduct. The law enforcement approach is usually aggressive as compared to less insecure neighborhoods results in the scenario. On the other hand, the paper “The Mark of a Criminal Record”illustrates that there has been no clear relationship between incarceration and employment according to models developed by researchers. In the model of causation, the collected and analyzed data showed that criminal records affect the chances of an individual getting a new job and a decent salary. However, in the model of spurious association, individual traits affect employment and incarceration instead of demonstrating the direct link. These include character traits like alcohol and drug abuse and poor interpersonal skills.

There is also a distinct thematic difference between the papers “Public Perceptions of White Collar Crime Culpability: Bribery, Perjury, and Fraud”and both “Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct” and “The Mark of a Criminal Record”papers. It is clear that the two later papers try to show that racial disparities are a major cause of problem under study. The former tries to elaborate the moral judgment of the white-collar crimes. The extent of the thematic variation is an aspect that brings about the contrast in the literature pieces.

In conclusion, the ambiguity in which all the issues under study are revealed in all the literature pieces helps in finding similarities. The case of “Public Perceptions of White Collar Crime Culpability: Bribery, Perjury, and Fraud”,where the distinct line between white-collar crimes and common violence crimes is hard to draw, is a matter of concern. It is similar to the case in “Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct”and “The Mark of a Criminal Record”, where the race factor is hard to discern if it attributes to perception of police misconduct and unemployment respectively. The conducted survey demonstrates racial discrimination in the society. It is clear that not only a criminal record has an importance in employment, but also a skin color. Misinterpretation of the racial effect evident in both “Perceptions of Police Misconduct”and “The Mark of a Criminal Record”shows similarities in various aspects associated with race. The case of thematic variation brings about differences between the three papers under study.

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