n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Sentencing white-collar offenders : beyond a one-dimensional approach

Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



The increasing prevalence of white-collar crime should prompt South African courts and legislators to consider the efficacy of sentences for these offenders. This article will define white-collar crime, discussing its theoretical ambiguities. It will then focus on the current sentencing of white-collar offenders in South Africa. A sentencing study on white-collar crime in the United States reveals that courts take account of various factors concerning the nature of the act and the actor. South African courts justify their sentencing decisions on similar factors, but also emphasise deterrence. Deterrence should not be given undue weight as the constitutional principle of proportionality must guide the courts. Imprisonment tends to be the preferred sentence for white-collar criminals, but there are constitutional, empirical and pragmatic issues with imprisonment, particularly the overcrowding of prisons. The courts should instead utilise community sentences for white-collar criminals who are not violent and can contribute their professional skills to society. South Africa requires greater resources for the administering of community sentences, and possibly, new legislation, such as the United Kingdom's Criminal Justice Act of 2003. Consideration of foreign legislation combined with increased resources would assist the effective implementation of community sentences for white-collar criminals in South Africa.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error