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Modern Institutionalized Torture as State-Organized Crime (From State Crime in the Global Age, P 83-102, 2010, William J. Chambliss, Raymond Michalowski, and Ronald C. Kramer, eds. - See NCJ-230909)

NCJ Number
Martha K. Huggins
Date Published
20 pages
This chapter outlines the 10 elements of the "torture essentials" model, which provides a synthesized prototype for studying torture by different kinds of political states, including totalitarian, military authoritarian, formally democratic, or state welfare and socialist.
The 10 elements are first briefly defined under the following topics: ideology, mislabeling, ad hoc legalism, bureaucracy, multiple actors, competition, routinization, insularity and secrecy, censorship and denial, and differential impunity. This is followed by a section of the chapter in which examples of each of the 10 torture elements are provided for various types of political systems, including that of the United States. The chapter concludes with an exploration of torture through the criminological perspective of an organized crime framework. This framework uses Maltz's (1995:19) definition of "organized crime" as "violations of law committed by two or more actors who are, or intend to remain, associated for the purpose of committing crimes." Maltz argues that the objective of most organized crime is power, either political or economic or both. Based on this definition, the chapter reasons that it is arguable that torture by the U.S. security apparatus as part of the "war on terrorism" was, in fact, organized crime. The chapter concludes that the examination of state torture through an organized crime framework can reinforce and expand the understanding of torture by revealing how a criminally culpable national security "protection racket" in the United States assisted powerful torture facilitators in committing state violence in the name of "national security." 13 notes