Administration of Justice 503

Justice Policy and Criminal Enterprise


Fall semester 1993      

Class meets Wednesday 6.30-9pm in 907 Oswald


The course

Criminal enterprise is a general term for illegal activity known variously as organized or syndicate criminality. As such, this poses many serious problems for effective law enforcement. This course will focus on  policy issues, but it is first essential to understand the real nature of organized crime, its distinctive structures, organization, and internal dynamics. A recurring theme of the course will be the need to understand and penetrate the many myths that surround organized crime in the United States and elsewhere.



The grade for the course will be based on two papers, plus class participation. Each paper will count 40% of the grade, while participation account for a further 20%. I will be expecting everyone to make oral presentations based on their papers, and to incorporate the resulting feedback into the final written versions.

For the two papers, I am expecting the following:

a. Due October 13

This should be a broad survey paper. It should take the form of an analysis of the structure and organization of a particular type of criminal activity in a particular region or city. If you choose New York or Chicago, there is so much material that you will need to focus in on one type of criminality, such as hijacking or securities theft. If you go elsewhere, you could attempt a general overview of organized criminality in a particular jurisdiction. In either case, this paper should be based primarily on official documents and government reports, backed up be newspaper materials. I want you to place special emphasis on providing a critical view of this material.


b. Ready for oral presentation by December 1; final written version due Dec. 14

The topic here is very much up to you. It might well grow out of paper one, and examine something there in considerably greater detail; but you might look at something completely different. I am flexible about topics, and will accept most reasonable subjects within the general scope of the course. I can also help you with reading lists and bibliography.


Note on resources:

Among standard official sources available in the Official Publications room in Pattee library, major documents include the reports of successive Congressional commissions investigating organized crime. Among the best known are:

Kefauver - Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, pursuant to S.R.202 (1950-1952)

McClellan - Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (1957-1959)

Narcotics - Senate Committee on Government operations: Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics (1963-1964)

Securities - The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations also had important hearings into the organized crime role in  the business of stolen securities (1971, 1973)

Kaufman - The President's Commission on Organized Crime (1984-1986)

But you will certainly find other relevant material for particular topics. The Pennsylvania Crime Commission have also published a lot of useful material since 1967 or so, and their reports offer a substantial body of literature on the state.

In addition, for newspaper materials, Pattee library has some excellent computer facilities that allow you to do a rapid and thorough search of the leading newspapers of several major cities - at present, mainly for the 1980s. Go to the microfilm room and ask about them.

Both Fox and Abadinsky have excellent bibliographies that I will not duplicate here - especially where official documents are concerned.


Required texts                          

1. Howard Abadinsky, Organized Crime (Chicago: Nelson Hall 1985, second edition, paperback) - ISBN 0-8304-1125-7

2. Stephen Fox, Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth Century America (New York: Penguin, paperback edition 1990) - ISBN 0-14-01.3438 7


In addition, there are a large number of relevant books on reserve in Pattee. These books vary enormously in their reliability, but they give a good picture of the state of research in the field.




1. August 25     Definitions and concepts. Historical overview. Myths and stereotypes.


I am assuming that you will read the whole of Fox and Abadinsky over the first few weeks of classes, as well as using Abadinsky as a reference work. Therefore, I have not spelled out readings for each and every class. These books are required to set you on the right track and to suggest directions for your own research.


2. Sept 1          Patterns of organized crime. Issues of conflict and centralization


3. Sept. 8         The Mafia Myth. Discussion of Fox book.


4. Sept 15        Organized crime and political machines.


5. Sept 22        Organized crime and the metropolitan  economy


6. Sept 29        Old and new ethnic groups


7. Oct. 6          Gambling.


8. Oct. 13        Labor racketering and political corruption


9. Oct. 20        Drugs.


10. Oct. 27      The organized crime elite


11. Nov 3        Law-enforcement dilemmas


12. Nov 10      Legal and ethical issues


13. Nov 17      A comparative view


14-15. Dec. 1-8        Student presentations



Reading List

I have asked for the following books to be put on reserve in Pattee. Please use them as appropriate for your papers.


Author                                    Title                                                    Call number

Albanese                      Organized Crime in America    HV6791.A57 1985

Albini                           The American Mafia                HV6446.A35

Anderson                     The Business of Organized Crime         HV6791.A76

Arlacchi                       Mafia Business                         HV6453.I8M3 1986

Block                           East Side, West Side                 HV6795.N5B57 1980

Block and Chambliss,   Organizing Crime                     HV6030.B55

Blumenthal                  Last Days of the Sicilians         HV6446.B58 1988

Chambliss                     On the Take                            HV6795.S5C45            1978

Cressey                        Theft of the Nation                 HV6791.C7

Davis                           Mafia Kingfish                            HV6248.M2964D38 1989

Demaris                       Boardwalk Jungle                      HV6721.A8D45 1986

Duggan                         Fascism and the Mafia              HV6453.I83M327 1989

Gardiner                       The Politics of Corruption      JS401.G36

Ianni                            Black Mafia                             HV6791.I2

Ianni                            A Family Business                    HV6448.I17

Kaplan and Dubro        Yakuza                                     HV6453.J33Y355 1986

McCoy                         Drug Traffic                             HV5840.A8M3

Messick                        Silent Syndicate                                    HV6783.M4    

Messick                        Syndicate in the Sun                 HV6483.D3M4

Messick                        Syndicate Wife                         HV6248.C662M4

Moldea                         Dark Victory                            PN1999.M33M6 1986

Nelli                             Business of Crime                     HV6791.N37 1981

Posner                         Warlords of Crime                   HV6453.H75P67 1988

Smith                           Mafia Mystique                                    HV6446.S54

Wismer                                    Sweethearts                              HD9715.C23T67