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Criminal Justice Resources :

Crime Commissions and Investigations

Presidential Crime Commissions
Source: Crime and Justice Vol 1.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce
The Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce (also know as the Kefauver Committee after the chair, Estes Kefauver), met between 1950 and 1951. Its purpose was to determine “whether organized crime utilizes the facilities of interstate commerce or otherwise operates in interstate commerce in furtherance of any transactions which are in violation of the law… and, if so, the manner and extent to which, and the identity of the persons, firms, or corporations by which such utilization is being made.” Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Kefauver Hearings on Organized Crime "Wikipedia entry
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Kefauver Committee and Las Vegas
Excerpts from PBS documentary.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Crime in America, by Estes Kefauver, chairman of the Senate Crime Investigating Committee (May 10, 1950-May 1, 1951) Edited and with an introd. by Sidney Shalett.
Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1951. 333pp. Available in both the MSU Main Library and at the Library of Michigan.
Summarizes highlights for the Kefauver Hearings on organized crime.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Crime in America / by Estes Kefauver, chairman of the Senate Crime Investigating Committee (May 10, 1950-May 1, 1951); edited and with an introduction by Sidney Shalett.
New York, N.Y. : Greenwood Press, 1968. 333pp. Reprint of 1951.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Knapp Commission
The Knapp Commission (officially known as the Commission to Investigate Alleged Police Corruption) stemmed from a five member panel initially formed in April 1970 by Mayor John V. Lindsay to investigate corruption within the New York City Police Department. The creation of the commission was largely a result of the publicity generated by the public revelations of police corruption made by Patrolman Frank Serpico and Sergeant David Durk.
The inadequacy and inability of local law-enforcement agencies to cope with organized crime was underscored by the Knapp Commission, which uncovered relations between New York City police and organized crime.
Also listed under Police Corruption.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

The Knapp Commission Report on Police Corruption (Book)
New York, G. Braziller [1973?]. 283pp.
Also listed under Police Corruption.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

McClellan Hearings Entry from Wikipedia
The McClellan Hearings, more commonly known as the Valachi Hearings, investigated organized crime activities across America and centered on Teamsters head and mafia associate, Jimmy Hoffa in 1957 and other leading mafia figures of the era such as Sam Giancana of Chicago. The hearings were initiated by Arkansas Senator John L. McClellan.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

L.A.P.D. Blues
This 2001 site explores the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart [CRASH unit] scandal and investigation, "a tangled web linking officers with street gangs, drug dealing, and the gangsta rap underworld." Includes a chronology; interviews; rap lyrics about the police; and information on the legacy of the Rodney King beating, Suge Knight, and Death Row Records. From the PBS series Frontline (includes transcript).
Also listed under Police Corruption.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Los Angeles Police Department
Board of Inquiry into the Rampart Area Corruption Incident
On March 1, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) commanders released the full text and executive summary of an internal, four-month Board of Inquiry investigation. The investigation centered on a host of alleged corrupt and criminal activities by the Rampart Area neighborhood's anti-gang unit. Among its findings were lax departmental supervision, tight-knit and almost gang-like behavior among the unit's members, and the improper assignment of new recruits to risky and sensitive positions, such as the anti-gang unit at Rampart. The report suggests 108 changes in department policies and procedures. Despite resistance from the LAPD, the city's civilian Police Commission announced on Tuesday that it would launch its own review of the force's disciplinary system and its ethics and culture. Still available thanks to the Internet Archive.
Also listed under Police Corruption.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Report of the Rampart Independent Review Panel
A report to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners concerning the operations, policies, and procedures of the Los Angeles Police Department in the wake of the Rampart scandal. November 16, 2000. 258pp.
Also listed under Police Corruption.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1967). The President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1967) estimated that twice as much money was made by organized crime as by all other types of criminal activity combined.

The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society : a Report
Also available in the MSU College of Law Library and the Library of Michigan Law Library.
Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1967. 340pp.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Wickersham Commission, 1929-1931
Also known as U.S. National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement
Web link
MSU faculty and staff can link directly to the Wickersham Crime Commission reports via HeinOnline via this link.
Vol. 1, The preliminary report on prohibition
Vol. 2, Report on the enforcement of prohibition laws in the United Statews
Vol. 3, Report on criminal statistics : The Report on Criminal Statistics was the focus of a major controversy over the development of a national system of crime data. The work of the Wickersham Commission coincided with the development of the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) system under the control of the Bureau of Investigation (later the Federal Bureau of Investigation). Key Wickersham Commission figures, notably Roscoe Pound and Harvard Law Professor Samuel B. Warner, had serious criticisms of the new UCR system.20 Their arguments did not prevail, however, and the UCR system was established and remained essentially unchanged for decades. The Report on Criminal Statistics, therefore, should be read in the context of this debate over the development of a national crime data system.
Vol. 4, Report on prosecution : The Report on Prosecution is particularly significant in that it came close to articulating a "systems" approach to the administration of justice.16 Beginning with the Cleveland Survey, the early crime commissions approached justice agencies as part of an interrelated system but did not have a conceptual framework that would explain the processes and problems they examined. The "systems" paradigm, which now dominates professional thinking about the administration of justice, was developed by the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice.17 The Report on Prosecution marked a tentative step in the direction of this intellectual development but one that went unfulfilled for over three decades.
Vol. 5, Report on the enforcement of deportation laws in the United States
Vol. 6, Report on the child offender in the federal system of justice
Vol. 7, Progress report on the study of the federal courts
Vol. 8, Report on criminal procedure
Vol. 9, Report on penal institutions, probation and parole : The Report on Penal Institutions, Probation, and Parole signaled an important shift in thinking about the treatment of convicted offenders. In the 1920s, there was a powerful public backlash against the optimistic, rehabilitation-oriented reforms of the Progressive Era. The Missouri Crime Survey in particular expressed the widespread public and professional disillusionment with parole and the sense that the criminal justice system was failing to adequately punish criminal offenders.13 The Report on Penal Institutions, Probation, and Parole gave both probation and parole strong endorsement and marked the revival of an optimistic belief that effective programs for the correctional treatment of offenders could be developed.14 This new movement slowly gained ground in professional circles over the next few decades and achieved fruition in the 1960s, most notably in the work of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice.15
Vol. 10, Report on crime and the foreign born
Vol. 11, Report on lawlessness in law enforcement : The production of the 1931 Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement by the Wickersham Commission is one of the most important events in the history of American policing. It was the first systematic investigation of police misconduct and became a catalyst for reforms involving new forms of accountability for the police.
Vol. 12, Report on the cost of crime
Vol. 13, Report on the causes of crime (2 vols.) : The two-volume Report on the Causes of Crime marked the coming-of-age of American criminology. The scientific study of crime originated in Europe in the nineteenth century and did not begin to engage American scholars until just before World War I. The field blossomed in the 1930s, most notably with the work of urban sociologists at the University of Chicago. The Wickersham Commission gave a strong endorsement to the sociological approach to the study of crime, explicitly noting the limitations of psychological and other approaches.18 The second part of the Report on the Causes of Crime was devoted to Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay's study of "Social Factors in Juvenile Delinquency," which became a highly influential work in the field.19 Thus, the Wickersham Commission played a major role in shaping the development of the field of criminology in the United States.
Vol. 14, Report on police
Also available in print
The Wickersham Commission was the result of three different factors. First, it represented an attempt by President Hoover to find a solution to the vexing problem of Prohibition enforcement, which had deeply divided the country and the Republican Party in particular.
Second, it was an expression of Hoover's technocratic approach to governing. An engineer by training, he had a deep faith in the capacity of a democratic society to master social problems by mobilizing and applying scientific expertise. In this respect, he had more in common with the pre-World War I Progressives than with the postwar conservative Republicans (Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge) with whom he is generally associated.6 Crime had begun to emerge as a national problem in the late 1920s, in part because of the problems associated with Prohibition enforcement and the publicity surrounding gang "wars" in Chicago and other cities.7 Hoover believed that a scientific study of crime and the administration of justice would help to solve both a general social problem and a specific political problem for him and his party.
Third, the Wickersham Commission was the logical outgrowth of the crime commission movement that had appeared in the 1920s. The Cleveland Survey of Criminal Justice, which published its report in 1922, served as the model for the Wickersham Commission. Codirected by Roscoe Pound (who later served on the Wickersham Commission) and Felix Frankfurter, the Cleveland Survey was unique in two important respects. First, it aspired to be an objective, scientific study of the administration of justice. There had been many investigations of criminal justice in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but they had been essentially partisan efforts to expose existing problems and to identify the corrupt and evil persons who were responsible. The Chicago Crime Commission, established in 1919, functioned as a "watchdog" of local criminal justice issues and did not have the social science aspirations of the Cleveland Survey. Unlike previous efforts, the Cleveland Survey undertook the study of an entire local criminal justice system from the police through local penal institutions. The 1926 Missouri Crime Survey applied this approach to the state level, encompassing county sheriffs and the state prison and parole systems.
The Wickersham Commission extended this approach to the national level. In addition to the three major components of the criminal justice system (police, courts, and corrections), it investigated new areas, such as theoretical criminology, criminal statistics, and the costs of crime.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Excerpt from the Problem of Law Enforcement
An address by George W. Wickersham on April 16, 1931 published by the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, 1931. Source : Crime and Punishment in America, Vol. 4.
(Last checked 03/21/13)

Wickersham Crime Commission : Wikipedia entry
(Last checked 03/21/13)


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