Organized Crime In Global Perspectives Essay, Research Paper
The two articles to be compared are The Functions and Structure of Criminal Syndicates by Donald R. Cressey and Donald Cressey s Contributions to the Study of Organized Crime by Joseph L. Albini. Though the second article is merely an evaluation of the first, the goal is to show how Albini agrees with some of Cressey s points, and to present Cressey s evidence that Albini has rejected in a way that will challenge Albini s accusations.
In the essay written by Donald R. Cressey deals with Cressey s view on the organization and function of organized crime. First, he touches on how Italians and Sicilians perceive people and the occupation they dwell in. Next, Cressey shows how local organized crime entities combined to form a commission to overlook each other, while within this he touches on important morale concepts, and the hierarchy or the family itself. Lastly, Cressey goes through each of organized crimes big business s and explains how each operates and pays a profit.
In the essay written by Joseph L. Albini deals with Cressey s interruption and report of organized crime to the U.S. government in 1967. Albini starts off by reminding the reader that by no means was Cressey an organized crime expert, on the contrary he was merely a social scientist with which the government feed crime statistics for interpretation. Added to this was the tight time restraint given to Cressey along with witnesses willing to divulge information they knew Cressey wanted to hear. Albini ends with a list of faults in Cressey s work, that including a later book Cressey wrote entitled Theft of A Nation, were Cressey merely reemphasized past ideas without expanding a great deal, contributing to a critical lack of critical evaluation on the data. It is important to note that Albini is a good friend of Cressey, and admits he has contributed a great deal to the field, but shows that under the circumstances Cressey was working under the work is flawed.
The only one thing that the two authors do seem to agree on is the hierarchy of the family, with the ultimate compilation of all the 24 families in an organization called the commission. In Cressey s essay he says that there are multiple levels to the family starting with the Boss, then the Underboss, with a Consigliere as a counselor to the Boss. Under this is the Buffer, which isolates the Boss from the criminal activities, which he has initiated. The Boss has no direct contact with any other members except the Underboss. After The Buffer are Lieutenant s then Section Chiefs, and finally Soldiers (Cressey p.9). Albini agrees with this point Cressey makes (Albini p.19) but other then that point Albini seems to have fragmented perceptions on Cressey s work.
Albini indicates that when Cressey wrote his book Theft of the Nation instead of offering more substantive evidence for his task force report, he merely restated he s previous points with little or no elaboration (Albini p. 19). Albini himself has acknowledged the fact that Cressey felt that his life could be on the line for doing this task force report on organized crime (Albini p.18). Albini merely shrugs off the idea because he asked police officer Ralph Salerno if he was in any imminent danger, and the policeman responded your as safe as a baby in the arms of its mother (Albini p.18). Compare this to Cressey s essay when he breaks down into major points what organized crime is all about, stating one that it uses muscle to achieve its goals, and two seeks out every opportunity to corrupt and influence anyone in government to aide them in the future (Cressey 14). Whether this is some coincidence that Cressey s book merely backs up his task force report or whether organized crime managed to strike fear into his heart is for the spectator to determine.
Albini states that Cressey made a critical mistake in that he says the American Mafia and the Sicilian Mafia are not connected, but further rebuts that the Sicilian Mafia never existed as a structured organization (Albini p.22). In addition to this Albini indicates Cressey inferred that organized crime did not exist before the immigration of Italians and Sicilians (Albini p.22).
In contrast to Albini s accusation to there being no organized structure called the Mafia in Sicily, why as indicated in Cressey s essay did during the 1920 s Mussolini have an official crack-down on a criminal organization in Southern Italy and Sicily (Cressey p.5). In respect to Albini s statement that Cressey did not address the possibility of organized crime before the mass migration of Sicilians and Italians to America. Cressey shows that somehow Italians and Sicilians recognized those of their own race who committed a crime as Italians and Sicilians, but those who were bankers, lawyers, doctors etc., were considered to be Americans (Cressey p.4-5)
Lastly, Albini states that Cressey contradicts himself when he presents the idea of a commission, which is a governing body over the families, but Albini states this can not be when these so called families are at war with each other on a regular basis (Albini p. 23). Cressey indicates that there was wide spread gang war between families during prohibition, but near the end of prohibition the Italians and Sicilians made a truce and formed a commission to overlook the families (Cressey p.4).
In conclusion, it is obvious that while Cressey and Albini are good friends, Albini except for the concept of the family hierarchy disagrees with much of Cressey s findings. Albini obviously disagreeing with much of Cressey s work consequently makes it vital to draw all loose ends to a close to make sure Albini has judged everything appropriately and fairly.
In respect to Albini accusing Cressey of not being critical of his Task Force Report in his later book, one has to realize that the Mafia uses muscle to gain its goals and is conscience of its public appearance. One might be able to infer therefore that seeing how Cressey has admitted to fearing for his life, that possibly his life was threatened and subsequently Cressey tried to keep a lower profile in his book Theft of A Nation.
Lastly, Albini indicates that there was no Mafia in Sicily, but as indicated in Cressey s essay, Mussolini in the 1920 s had an extensive crackdown on criminal organizations in Sicily and Southern Italy. Coincidence or could there really have been a Mafia in Sicily, seeing that there has to be something ever present to constitute such a huge crackdown. In regard to the allegation that there is no such thing as the Commission , Cressey showed that because of the gang wars at the end of prohibition and their bloody outcome consequently prompted the families to create a governing body to prevent further bloodshed, hence the Commission . As one can quite clearly see, Albini does not seem to have viable accusations, but without access to Cressey s complete report and research information that conclusion can not be determined.
The Functions and Structure of Criminal Syndicates. Donald R. Cressey
Donald Cressey s Contribution s to the Study of Organized Crime.