History Of Crime And Punishment

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History of Crime And Punishment

History of Crime and Punishment


Contemporary criminology inhabits a rapidly changing world. The speed and profundity of these changes are echoed in the rapidly changing character of criminology's subject matter—in crime rates, in crime policy, and in the practices of policing, prevention and punishment. And if we look beyond the immediate data of crime and punishment to the processes that underpin them—to routines of social life and social control, the circulation of goods and persons, the organization of families and households, the spatial ecology of cities, the character of work and labour markets, the power of state authorities—it becomes apparent that criminology's subject matter is centrally implicated in the major transformations of our time(Turner,1996 pp.69-74). 

Definition of Crime

Although contemporary definitions vary in the exact words used, there is considerable consensus that criminology involves the application of the “scientific method” to the study of variation in criminal law, the causes of crime, and reactions to crime (Young 1999 pp.67). This combination of method and substance evolved over time with the expectation for a scientific methodology in place by the late 19 century, and acceptance of the broad, tripartite, sustentative focus established by the middle of the 20th century. Criminology is an inter-disciplinary field of study, involving scholars and practitioners representing a wide range of behavioral and social sciences as well as numerous natural sciences. Sociologists played a major role in defining and developing the field of study and criminology emerged as an academic discipline housed in sociology programs. However, with the establishment of schools of criminology and the proliferation of academic departments and programs concentrating specifically on crime and justice in the last half of the 20th century, criminology emerged as a distinct professional field with a broad, interdisciplinary focus and a shared commitment to generating knowledge through systematic research(Wacquant 1999 Pp.89). 

Modern Criminology

When we refer to 'modern criminology' we do not intend to refer to criminological ideas that are up-to-date or contemporary. We are not here concerned, for example, with the 'criminologies of everyday life' or the choice and control theories that have come to prominence recently (Garland 2009 pp.93-103). By 'modern criminology' we mean the framework of problems, concepts and styles of reasoning that emerged at the end of the nineteenth century, produced by the confluence of medical psychology, criminal anthropology, statistical inquiry, social reform and prison discipline—a framework that provided the coordinates for the penal-welfare institutions that developed during the next 70 years (Garland 1985 pp.12-19). Modern criminology is no longer quite 'up to the minute', but it was the formative, hegemonic discourse for the first two-thirds of this century. For all their disagreements, the founders of modern British criminology were all proponents of this basic framework. Hermann Mannheim at the LSE, Max Grunhut at Oxford, Leon Radzinowicz at Cambridge, Tom Lodge at the Home Office, Edward Glover and Emmanuel Miller who, along with Mannheim founded the British Journal of Delinquency, the forerunner to the British Journal of Criminology—all of them shared the same basic commitments. (Radzinowicz 1991 pp.422-44) And although subsequent generations would revise its terms and question its commitments, this version of criminology played a crucial role in establishing the discipline in the academy, in government and in ...
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