Advanced

State Crime in the Street-Level Bureaucracy : Towards an Understanding of Crimes of the Welfare State

Schoultz, Isabel LU (2012) In International Criminal Justice Review 22(3). p.258-275
Abstract

On the basis of two points of departure: (1) no state has clean hands and (2) the types of crime a state commits vary with state formations, this article explores cases where the Swedish state and its agencies have been held responsible for some form of wrongdoing. Drawing on a total of 8,561 judgments issued against the state by agencies of control (the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Chancellor of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights), the study finds that most cases of substantive and procedural crime committed by the state are related to the street-level bureaucracy, where state officials working in public sector agencies interact with citizens in the course of their everyday employment. Further, the study finds that most of... (More)

On the basis of two points of departure: (1) no state has clean hands and (2) the types of crime a state commits vary with state formations, this article explores cases where the Swedish state and its agencies have been held responsible for some form of wrongdoing. Drawing on a total of 8,561 judgments issued against the state by agencies of control (the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Chancellor of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights), the study finds that most cases of substantive and procedural crime committed by the state are related to the street-level bureaucracy, where state officials working in public sector agencies interact with citizens in the course of their everyday employment. Further, the study finds that most of the judgments revolve around issues of particular accountability relating to the individual interests of the complainants and that only a relatively small portion involve complaints against the state in relation to general policies or general conduct. One overall conclusion is that the crimes committed by the Swedish welfare state involve acts of negligence rather than purposeful acts of repression, and that the offences primarily involve procedural rather than substantive wrongs. The results are interpreted as a function of both how state bureaucracy works and of the limited ability of the existing control mechanisms. © 2012 Georgia State University.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
control of the state, state crime, street-level bureaucracy, welfare state
in
International Criminal Justice Review
volume
22
issue
3
pages
18 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84867000793
ISSN
1057-5677
DOI
10.1177/1057567712456872
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
a6beb5a8-50b9-46cd-b24b-3d11be470568
date added to LUP
2016-08-18 13:42:20
date last changed
2016-08-23 14:36:18
@misc{a6beb5a8-50b9-46cd-b24b-3d11be470568,
  abstract     = {<p>On the basis of two points of departure: (1) no state has clean hands and (2) the types of crime a state commits vary with state formations, this article explores cases where the Swedish state and its agencies have been held responsible for some form of wrongdoing. Drawing on a total of 8,561 judgments issued against the state by agencies of control (the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Chancellor of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights), the study finds that most cases of substantive and procedural crime committed by the state are related to the street-level bureaucracy, where state officials working in public sector agencies interact with citizens in the course of their everyday employment. Further, the study finds that most of the judgments revolve around issues of particular accountability relating to the individual interests of the complainants and that only a relatively small portion involve complaints against the state in relation to general policies or general conduct. One overall conclusion is that the crimes committed by the Swedish welfare state involve acts of negligence rather than purposeful acts of repression, and that the offences primarily involve procedural rather than substantive wrongs. The results are interpreted as a function of both how state bureaucracy works and of the limited ability of the existing control mechanisms. © 2012 Georgia State University.</p>},
  author       = {Schoultz, Isabel},
  issn         = {1057-5677},
  keyword      = {control of the state,state crime,street-level bureaucracy,welfare state},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {258--275},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x9903390)},
  series       = {International Criminal Justice Review},
  title        = {State Crime in the Street-Level Bureaucracy : Towards an Understanding of Crimes of the Welfare State},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1057567712456872},
  volume       = {22},
  year         = {2012},
}