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Organized Crime Essay Research Paper Donald Creesey

Organized Crime Essay, Research Paper

Donald Creesey was a pioneer in the study of organized crime. He was

also considered the first expert on the subject. However, his contributions to the

field are now in question. In the next two articles a battle of words is waged

between Joseph L. Albini, author of “Donald Cressey’s Contributions to the

Study of Organized Crime An Evaluation”, and Charles H. Rogovin along with

Frederick T. Martens, authors of “The Evil That Men Do”, concerning Cressey’s

actual accomplishments.

First of all, a brief introduction to each of the authors’ credentials is

needed to add respectability to his opinion on what Cressey has done. Joseph L.

Albini has a doctorate in the field of criminal justice and is currently a professor at

the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Albini is the Co-Director of the Joint

Russian-American Academic Committee for the Promotion of the Study of

Comparative Criminal Justice. Lastly, he is a member of the International

Association for the Study of Organized Crime.

The next author to be introduced is Charles H. Rogovin. Rogovin is

employed as a professor at Temple University Law School, Philadelphia. He was

Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission. His r?sum? also includes the

position of President of the International Association for the Study of Organized


The final author, Frederick T. Martens is Director of Security at Claridge

Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey. He was, at one time, Executive Director of the

Pennsylvania Crime Commission, and Lieutenant Supervisor of the New Jersey

State Police organized crime unit.

All three authors are well-respected authorities in the field of organized

crime, therefore their opinions do deserve some weight when voiced in the

matter of organized crime and Donald Cressey. Although the articles are in

direct contrast with one another, each authors’ opinion must be considered

before refuting it.

The article composed by Albini is a critical evaluation of Donald Cressey’s

work. Within the pages of the article are numerous reasons why Cressey was

wrong in the conclusions he arrived at and how he was careless in his research

to attain those conclusions. Throughout the article Albini makes allegations of

ignorance and utter disregard for information directed toward Cressey that would

refute the very conclusions Cressey has been heralded for reaching.

In contrast, Rogovin and Martens derived an article that supports the

same conclusions which Albini criticizes. They continually find and state

examples of how they feel Albini to be wrong and Cressey to be correct. They

have determined that Albini’s article has no foundation and no merit, which leads

Into the effectiveness and correctness of Cressey.

To start off the criticisms by Albini of Cressey, Albini claims that Cressey

feared for his life. Albini attributes this fear to Cressey’s “unquestioning and, in

many cases, uncritical acceptance of the government data.” He, being Albini,

protests that Cressey warned him once of the dangers of pursuing his research

in the field of organized crime. He did not fault Cressey for this fear, but later on

in Albini’s own research, he claims to have discovered that there was never any

need for fear, organized crime held no ill will toward researchers.

Rogovin disputes this claim by Albini by explaining that his encounters

with Cressey never once left him with any impression that Cressey ever felt any

danger, what so ever, from organized crime due to the information he uncovered.

Rogovin continues along this line of rebuttal by referring to Cressey’s sense of

humor. He states that if ever Cressey made a comment to Albini suggesting for

him to be wary of his own safety, it must have been in jest.

Another of Albini’s complaints with Cresseys’ views was that he seemed

highly dependent on Joseph Valachi, the first member of organized crime to

testify under oath about the inner workings of the underworld. Albini claims that

Cressey accepted whatever Valachi said as fact, no questions asked, while

composing his report for the Presidents Commission. Even though Cressey

himself claimed that Valachi “will tell you only what he thinks you want to

hear.” Albini surely believes that this misleading information received by

Cressy led to his faulty conclusions.

Rogovin and Marten state that they feels it ludicrous and near immature

for Albini to truly believe that Cressey, a very well educated man would be

bamboozled by the likes of Valachi. Rogovin and Martens believe that Cressy

being the excellent, skilled, and cautious listener he was would have been able

to peer through the mendacious exterior of Valachi, and get to the truthfulness

behind it.

Albini claims that Cressey has committed three grievous errors in reaching

his conclusions. The first being, he was lacking an accurate definition for

researching purposes. Albini maintains that throughout all of Cressey’s work,

Cressey never established a proper definition of organized crime. Albini asserts

this lack of definition as to what limited Cressey‘s research, and therefore to his

inaccurate conclusion. The second error Cressey committed was he failed to

critically evaluate his data. Albini recognizes where the information came from

that was presented to Cressey, but still feels if Cressy had taken into account the

differences and biases of those who offered the information to the Task Force

and to Cressey individually, his conclusion would have turned out differently.

The third of Albini’s major grievances is that Cressey presents a very limited

background and history of the Mafia in Sicily. Albini alleges the Mafia in Sicily

never acted as a secret organization. He claims that if Cressey had read the

existing material available then he would not have presented this flawed


Rogovin and Martens respond to these arguments by Albini in this way.

First to the suggestion that Cressey’s definition was the downfall to his

investigations, Rogovin and Martens make it sound as though all else has failed

for Albini, so the only option left to him is to attack the definition. They claim

that although a precise definition would be useful, it is not necessary. The

significance of the findings is far more important then the definition itself. They

both feel that the quality of Cressey’s material exceeds any thing a lack of

definition could possibly hinder. Rogovin and Martens exposing how the

government was wrong in assessing the existence of organized crime in the past

respond to the second assertion that Cressey didn’t critically evaluate the data he

received. They site examples of convictions that have taken place in courtrooms

and how the federal government itself had to finally acknowledge the presence of

a criminal underworld. The third of three major complaints by Albini is one of the

few, if not only point agreed upon by all authors. The absence of a proper

historical background is evident in Cressy’s publication, Theft of the Nation.

However, Rogovin and Martens defend Cressey by making the point that he was

most likely depending upon experts in other areas and that they misled him in to

being mistaken about the historical perspectives.

Albini concludes his arguments by saying that Cressey has given

individuals in the field of organized crime a model to work from. Even if the

model is not the correct model in Albini’s eyes, nonetheless its still something for

others to learn from. For scientists, the wrong answer must be found numerous

time before the right answer can be uncovered. Albini just feels Cressey’s model

and ideas are just that…another wrong answer helping to find the right one.

Rogivin was enraged by the fact that Albini never voiced these concerns

about Cressey’s views while Cressey was alive to defend himself and his ideas.

Another problem that Rogovin and Martens have with Albini’s article is that he

does exactly what he claims Cressey has done: relying on and siting the remarks

made by Dintino. Rogivin and Martens protest that this is where “Albini is at his

worst.” They conclude their article by making the statement that, “Cressey’s

model of organized crime has stood the test of time.” They also add that there is

far more work to be done in the study of organized crime. Either new ideas are

going to have to be formulated or else the kind of article that Albini has written

will continue to pop up in different forms for years to come. Rogovin and Martens

apparently took offense to the views presented by Albini. Throughout the article

were references to his ignorance, intelligence, education, or lack thereof.

These two articles could not be more different in context, style, idea, and

how the ideas were presented to the reader. The article by Rogovin and Martens

was written direct response to the first article by Albini. Albini’s article was simply

written as a matter of opinion, instead of a reaction to an opinion. That did make

an exceedingly large difference in the content and character of each article, and

that is what the differences in each can be attributed to…the timing of the


Albini, Joseph L. “Donald Cressey’s Contributions to the Study of Organized Crime An Evaluation.” As found in Understanding Organized Crime in Global Perspective. Ryan, Patrick, and Rush, George. Eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc. 1997. Pp. 16-25

Rogovin, Charles H. and Martens, Frederick T. “The Evil That Men Do.” As found in Understanding Organized Crime in Global Perspective. Ryan, Patrick, and Rush, George. Eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc. 1997. Pp. 26-36

Understanding Organized Crime in Global Perspective. Ryan, Patrick, and Rush, George. Eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc. 1997