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NCJ Number: 49857 Find in a Library
Title: DOES PROFESSIONAL CRIME PAY? - A CRITICAL COMMENT ON MACK
Journal: MODERN LAW REVIEW  Volume:40  Issue:5  Dated:(SEPTEMBER 1977)  Pages:553-560
Author(s): A SANDERS
Corporate Author: Russell Sage Foundation
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Russell Sage Foundation
New York, NY 10065
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: MACK'S ARGUMENTS ARE CHALLENGED BY ANALYZING THE PROFESSIONAL'S INTERACTIONS WITH THE CRIMINAL PROCESS IN THE WIDER CONTEXT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PRACTICE, AND THE PROBLEMS OF MACK'S GENERAL PERSPECTIVE ARE EXAMINED.
Abstract: ARGUING THAT COURT RECORDS ARE INVALID IN DETERMINING THE IDENTITY OF 'PROFESSIONAL' CRIMINALS, MACK SOUGHT OUT POLICE INTELLIGENCE PERSONNEL TO CONSTRUCT A LIST OF 'MAJOR' CRIMINALS IN THE CITY AS PERCEIVED BY POLICE. IN ADDITION TO THIS 'MAIN' GROUP OF CRIMINALS, TWO OTHER GROUPS OF CRIMINALS, CLASSIFIED AS 'LESSER' AND 'SMALL FRY,' WERE CONSTRUCTED FROM POLICE OPINION. COURT RECORDS WERE THEN USED TO SHOW THAT THE 'MAIN' GROUP DEMONSTRATED COMPARATIVELY GREATER SKILL IN CONDUCTING CRIMES AND HANDLING COURT PROCEDURES THAN DID MEMBERS OF THE OTHER TWO GROUPS OF MINOR CRIMINALS. THE AUTHOR OF THIS PAPER, IN CHALLENGING MACK'S RESEARCH METHODS, QUESTIONS THE VALIDITY OF THE CHOICE OF THE POLICE IN DETERMINING THE IDENTITIES OF THE THREE GROUPS OF OFFENDERS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT POLICE VIEWS OF PERSONS WHOM THEY REGARD AS THE MAJOR CRIMINAL ELEMENTS IN A CITY ARE TOO SUBJECTIVE TO SERVE AS THE BASIS OF A SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION OF THE 'PROFESSIONAL' CRIMINAL'S CONTACT WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. MACK'S INTERPRETATION OF THE MEANING OF THE LOWER PERCENTAGE OF CONVICTIONS RELATED TO THE NUMBER OF CHARGES FOR THE 'MAIN' GROUP AS COMPARED TO THE MINOR GROUPS OF OFFENDERS IS ALSO CHALLENGED IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE POLICE PRACTICE OF 'OVERCHARGING' THOSE PERSONS BELIEVED TO BE 'PROFESSIONAL' CRIMINALS WOULD ACCOUNT FOR AN EXCESS OF CHARGES COMPARED TO NUMBER OF ACTUAL CONVICTIONS. THIS SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED TO MEAN, AS DOES MACK, THAT THE 'PROFESSIONAL' CRIMINAL EXERCISES GREATER SKILL IN THE CONDUCT OF HIS CRIMES AND THE HANDLING OF COURT PROCESSES THAN LESSER CRIMINALS. THE CONCEPT OF 'HIDDEN DELINQUENCY' IS CITED AS ANOTHER REASON FOR INVALIDATING MACK'S STUDY. IF POLICE VIGILANCE IS CONCENTRATED ON THOSE PERSONS PERCEIVED BY THE POLICE TO BE 'MAJOR' CRIMINALS, THEN IT IS ARGUABLE THAT THOSE CONSIDERED 'MINOR' OFFENDERS WOULD HAVE MORE LATITUDE TO ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY UNKNOWN TO THE POLICE. FURTHER, IT CAN BE ARGUED THAT THE MOST SKILLED CRIMINAL IS THE ONE WHO ESCAPES REGULAR POLICE OBSERVATION AND CONTACT. IT IS THUS CONCLUDED THAT MACK'S STATEMENT THAT 'THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM'S TRANSACTIONS WITH MAJOR PROPERTY CRIMINALS ARE WEIGHTED IN FAVOR OF THE LATTER' CANNOT BE ACCEPTED. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Convictions; Critiques; Habitual offenders
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49857

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