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
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 rsum 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
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
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
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