1982 | VIII-IX | 447-473
Article title

Sprawcy zagarnięć mienia społecznego znacznej wartości (w świetle danych z akt sądowych oraz wyników badań psychologicznych)

Title variants
The Cases of Misappropriation of Social Property of a Considerable Value (in the Light of the Data From Court Files and Psychological Examination)
Languages of publication
The problem of offences against economy, where the value of misappropriated property exceeds 100,000 zlotys, is a particular criminological problem. The peculiar character of this type of crime results from the fact, firstly, that a new type of property - that is social property - comes into question, and secondly, that the category of perpetrators of such offences has not yet been closely studied nor described.  Though the property discussed here is called “social” - in the social consciousness the opinion has fixed itself that, managed , by the State officials, it is a property of the State, alienated, “belonging to nobody” and not to all of the citizens. On account of this, the moral norm “thou shalt not steal” assented to by a large majority of the Polish society, does not apply to this kind of property to the same degree as to private property owned by a definite person. The persons guilty of misappropriation of social’ property of a considerable and great value (that is, over 100,000 zlotys) frequently enjoy a reputation of good specialists, efficient organizers and friendly colleagues. Taking advantage of the others’ trust in them, they appropriate the property under their control in the course of their duties for the protection of which they are responsible. In the present study, one fundamental problem is formulated: what are the characteristics of persons convicted of misappropriation of social property of a considerable value, what are the most frequent motives of their offences and the circumstances of committing them. To find the answers to the above questions, the criminological-psychological examination whose sentenced had become valid in 1969 and 1970 for misappropriation of social property of a value exceeding 100,000 zlotys, to the detriment of the institutions they worked in, where they were responsible for protection of this property. The study represents the social and demographic characterization of 100 perpetrators of misappropriation of property, based on the analysis of court files and records concerning their financial standing. The second part of the study includes a psychological characteristics elaborated on the grounds of detailed individual psychological examination. 54 persons of the 100 whose files had been analysed were included in the psychological examination, as it was for many reasons impossible to reach all of the offenders. The following statements based on the social and demographic data are worthy of attention: - In the group of persons guilty of misappropriation of property of a considerable and great value, the percentage of women is much higher than in the entire population of the convicted offenders. In 1970, women constituted 11% of all persons aged 21- 65, whose sentences had become valid, while the percentage of women in the group under scrutiny was 34%. - The age of the offenders varied greatly (21-65), while the majority were aged 41-50. - The level of education of the offenders, with those with over elementary education prevailing (59%), was somewhat higher than that of all employees in national economy. - The type of job of the offenders was closely connected with their sex. Women are mainly employed in book-keeping departments, while men worked in purchasing centres and warehouses. 41% of Women and 56% of men occupied executive posts, which where, however, of lower grade, for example head of department. - As regards such demographic variables as social background, place of birth and residence, duration of work etc., the offenders did not differ significantly from the  population of non-offenders. - The analysis of a family situation reveals no differences between the offenders at the time of apprehension and the entire population. The majority of them were married and had usually one or two children. A detailed analysis of the records concerning the financial standing of the offenders in the period of commission of the offence revealed their financial situation, as measured by their monthly wages and the budget per 1 person to be as follows: - Te mean wage of the whale of the offenders were 105% of the mean country wage. - Income per 1 person in the household (properly calculated in relation to 1970) was 400-2065 zlotys. In the group of offenders with 4-person household, the mean income per 1 person was 1056 zlotys, that is, approximately the social minimum. In the group of offenders whose household are more numerous, the income in question was 446-804 zlotys and was thus below the social minimum. The delinquency of the persons examined was as follows: - Among the group of 100 persons, there were 16% previously convicted for various offences, including only 1 person convicted for an offence against property. There were no former juvenile delinquents among the persons under scrutiny. - The misappropriation of social property was committed single-handed  (54%) or in co-operation with other persons (46%). There existed a correlation between the form of commission of the offence and the type of job. Also the way in which the offence had been committed was related to the type of job. - The duration of criminal activities varied from 1 month to 15 years, the mean duration being 3 years 7 months. - The value of the property misappropriated by the offenders in 65% met the criteria of considerable value (over 100,000 to 200,000 zlotys) and in 35% - that of great value (over 200,000 zlotys). - The offenders had been sentenced for the misappropriation of property to 5 - 15 years of imprisonment (mean 8 - 10 years) and to fines of 50- 300 thousand zlotys. Individual investigation which was a basis for psychological characteristics of the persons was carried on in prisons. The mean period of the hitherto isolation was 2 years. Information obtained in the present study as to the family background of the offenders, their life stories, education and professional work, excessive drinking etc., clearly differentiate this population amongst other groups of offenders as described in other studies. There were no persons with criminal records among the parents and siblings of the offenders, as well as those excessively drinking or shirking work. Likewise, no distinct disturbances in the family situation of the offenders, in the period preceding apprehension in prison, were found. A majority of them were married and performed their family duties properly. The percentage of men who could be recognized as excessively drinking, was comparatively low among the examined persons. -  The results of the intelligence test by means of the Wechsler-Bellevue Scale indicate no cases of lowered intelligence among the examined offenders. Mean IQ of the entire group was 116, that is over the average. The Eysenck's Personality Inventory revealed only small differences between the offenders and the control group derived from the population of Poland as regards the intensity of neurotism and extroversion. There was indeed lower intensity of extroversion among the men. Thus the obtained results did not confirm Eysenck's hypothesis that offenders were recruited from extrovertive neurotics. - As indicated by the accounts of the offenders as to the motives of committing the offence, nearly half of them were induced or even forced to commit it by their co-workers. Those who had initiated an offence were determined by a desire to get money they needed for amenities or to improve the living standards of their families, while the persons induced or forced to commit the offence were led first of all by the fear of losing their jobs. - Before they started their delinquent activity, the majority of the offenders had reflected on the possible consequences of their demeanour. They estimated the chances of avoiding penalty rather high, on the basis of their own professional experience, the acquaintance with their associates and the methods of supervision accepted in their places of employment. The circumstances that determined the fact that people similar to average non-criminal citizens in many respects, committed an offence, were as follows: on the one hand, a low in degree of internalization of the norm which prohibits stealing social property, accompanied by a strong “temptation” , and on the other hand, an estimation of high probability of avoiding awkward consequences, which resulted from: defective system of supervision, poor organization of work, uneconomical management, the climate of solidarity and tolerance towards the perpetrators of petty misappropriation of social property, and disorder in many institutions.
Physical description
  • Andrejew I., Polskie prawo karne, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warszawa 1973.
  • Dłużniewska K., Zagarnięcie mienia społecznego w zakładzie produkcyjnym, Wydawnictwo Prawnicze, Warszawa 1974.
  • GUS „Rocznik Statystyczny” 1970.
  • GUS, „Rocznik Statystyczny” 1969.
  • Majchrzak I., Pracownicze przestępstwo gospodarcze i jego sprawca, Wiedza Powszechna, Katowice 1965.
  • Orzechowski R., Kadry, „Prawo i Życie” 1970, t. XV, nr 12.
  • Tymowski A., W sprawie minimum socjalnego, „Życie Gospodarcze” 1971, nr 8.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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