Community service and
The characteristics of the sanction on factors
determining its use among a sample of
Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University,
Purpose –The purpose of this paper is to nd out who in the white-collar offender eld, specically
health-care professionals, is getting community service as a punishment and to lead the way for further
research on community service as a legal sanction.
Design/methodology/approach –This study collected its sample using Medicaid Fraud Reports from
the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units for 2009-2014. In total, 200 reports were used; 100
with community service given as a legal sanction, and 100 without. All the information was then coded by a
set of criteria and put into an SPSS Statistics le for analysis.
Findings –The ndings showed that there was no signicant relationship between gender and any of the
main legal sanctions looked for in the Medicaid Fraud Reports, except for community service. Community
service also had a signicant relationship with those offenders who committed physical crimes rather than
nancial crimes. Last, women were given less severe sanctions on average for all of the major sanctions given.
Research limitations/implications –One of the implications found was that a lot more women were
given community service than men. This could be because women are considered homemakers for families,
and the court systems do not want to punish a woman in a way that would take her away from her family. It
could also be because the court system does not see a reason to punish women as harshly as it may be felt that
a woman will learn her lesson with any punishment.
Originality/value –There is very little research done on community service as a sanction. This research
helps bring that to light.
Keywords Community service, Criminal justice system, Health-care professional,
Reintegrative shamming theory, White-collar crime
Paper type Research paper
Research shows that the modern idea of community service has been used as a legal sanction
since about the late 1960s starting in Great Britain and Whales (Berman, 2010). Although
community service has been increasing in popularity as a legal sanction used by judges, it is
still one of the least commonly used sanctions, and it is sometimes hard to indicate just why
a particular offender is getting it as a punishment.
A legal sanction is a punishment given to an offender “as a means of enforcing obedience
to a law” (Black and Nolan, 1990). Community service in essence is unpaid work done in an
effort to help society. When community service is given as a legal sanction, it becomes
required unpaid work that an offender is sentenced to do that is usually in lieu of going to jail
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Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.24 No. 1, 2017
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