Invited testimony for the California Assembly Judiciary and Criminal Justice committees on bills forbidding corporations and charitable trusts to pay ransom. Such bills are unlikely to accomplish their intended purpose of discouraging kidnappings. What discourages kidnappings is a high rate of apprehension and conviction, plus severe sentences. To apprehend extortionists, police authorities depend on the cooperation of those on whom the demands are made — cooperation that is unlikely if the hostage's welfare is jeopardized by nonpayment (or if the payer is legally liable). Where American corporate officials are kidnapped overseas, the impression of valuing money above life would damage the image of the corporation and of the United States. (The bills are appended; they were defeated).
This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.