Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol 6, No 3 (2016)

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Debt as a Criminal Risk Factor in Denmark

Annette Olesen

Abstract


Existing studies of crime preventive factors have illustrated that ex-prisoners who began a course of education, obtained employment and/or had permanent housing were less likely to relapse into crime. However, this study shows that the aforementioned crime preventing factors became less effective due to the ex-prisoners’ debt. Those convicted in Denmark are personally liable for their own legal costs. Thus, we must regard most ex-prisoners as being highly indebted to the state. The debt of ex-prisoners was generally understood as being the cause of financial problems, but legal regulation and informal punishment, as unintended consequences of indebtedness, were still poorly explored. This research indicates that legal regulation and informal punishment based on indebtedness may serve as an argument for considering debt as a criminal risk factor which has made the preventive factors less effective and has driven ex-prisoners farther from legitimate socio-economic advantaged affiliations and invited criminal behaviour.

Estudios existentes sobre factores de prevención de delitos pusieron de manifiesto que era menos probable que los ex presos que iniciaron un curso de educación, consiguieron un empleo y/o tenían una vivienda permanente, recayeran en la delincuencia. Sin embargo, este estudio demuestra que los factores de prevención de delitos anteriormente mencionados resultan menos efectivos debido a la deuda de los ex prisioneros. En Dinamarca, los condenados deben hacerse cargo de sus propios costes legales. Por lo tanto, debemos considerar que la mayoría de los ex presos han contraído una alta deuda con el Estado. Generalmente, se entendía que la deuda de los ex prisioneros era causa de problemas financieros, pero había pocos estudios sobre la regulación legal y el castigo informal, como consecuencias no intencionadas del endeudamiento. Esta investigación indica que la regulación legal y el castigo informal basado en el endeudamiento pueden servir como argumento para considerar la deuda como un factor de riesgo penal, que ha hecho que los factores preventivos sean menos efectivos y ha alejado a los ex convictos de una situación socioeconómica ventajosa, invitando a un comportamiento delictivo.

DOWNLOAD THIS PAPER FROM SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2783815


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