SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Urbina, M. G., & Kreitzer, S. (2004). The practical utility and ramifications of RICO: Thirty-two years after its implementation. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 15(3), 294-323. doi:10.1177/0887403403252669

Abstract: In 1970, Congress enacted what some scholars view as the most sweeping criminal statute ever passed at the federal level, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), with the primary objective of prosecuting organized crime. The legislative intent was to destroy criminal organizations by adopting mandatory fines and lengthy sentences. Thirty-two years after its implementation, however, RICO continues to be questionable and polemic. Thus, the primary objective of this study was to obtain a better understanding of RICO by conducting face-to-face interviews with 23 practitioners. The findings suggest that RICO has been extremely successful against traditional organized crime. Although it is not possible to quantify whether the benefits substantially outweigh the negative consequences, both benefits and ramifications appear to be significant and substantial and thus worthy of further analyses.


Journal Article 2: Cohen, A. W. (2003). The Racketeer’s progress: Commerce, crime, and the law in Chicago, 1900-1940. Journal of Urban History, 29(5), 575-593. doi:10.1177/0096144203253888

Abstract: This article considers urban crime and the origins of the term racketeering in the United States during the 1920s. The etymology of this muddled concept can help historians separate facts from the ideologically charged rhetoric of that period. The noun racketeering emerged in Chicago amidst Prohibition-era debates about gang violence, labor unions, and competition. In 1927, Gordon Hostetter, an antiunion activist, promoted the term to describe unions and associations in trades like construction, laundry, and kosher foods, which governed prices and wages through strikes, boycotts, and violence. He sought not to expose gang influence in the labor movement but rather to direct public concern about bootleggers like A1 Capone against organizations he saw as extortionate. Union officials fought this definition, eventually convincing the public that they were victims of blackmail, not its perpetrators. But Hostetter’s language significantly shaped the legal status of collective action before and after the New Deal.