In my previous column, I questioned the appropriateness of punishing white-collar criminals with prison time. Of course, fraudsters need to be penalized, but I'm not sure time in jail -- a very expensive proposition for taxpayers -- is the best method.
The purpose of a prison is fourfold:
- Retribution for a crime
- To disable a criminal from committing further offenses when incarcerated
- To deter criminal activity after release
- To deter others from committing similar crimes
I will write here only of the U.S. criminal system, but many of the principles apply globally.