Biological Theories of Crime

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Department
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Course
CRCJ 1000
Professor
George Pollard
Semester
Winter

Description
- positive philosophy (Auguste Comte) - credited as being the father of positivism - predicting human behaviour, fact based (empirical foundation), calculations and measurements, objective and value-free science, etc. (see slides) - the term criminology has been credited to Garofalo - so that criminology is not associated with criminal anthropology - positivist criminology - scientific facts - advocate for incapacitation for those who are beyond rehabilitation - some try to convince the law that there is no free will - assault on classical criminology from positivism (pg. 122)*** - there was a criticism from the scientific views, saying that they have discovered the truth about criminals and so it makes no sense that criminals are governed by free will Biological Theories - physiognomy - asscioated with Della Porta - project to gain knowledge of the inside of man by looking at the outside - deducing personality traits based on facial features - learn from what is visible about what is not visible - phrenology - founded by Gall, the idea is that by touching the contours of the cranium we could identify the size of the various of organs of the brain and be able to make different statements about the qualities of individuals - Spurzheim identified 30 organs of the brain - the more the organ is active, the bigger it is – size reflects activity and therefore it will shape the skull - those who were trained could by touching the skull tell which organs were developed and which were not - Gall suggested at one point that he discovered the organ of murder - if you are able by touching to demonstrate that the organ of murder is huge, you don’t need the law in order to find that person guilty - Spurzheim added a 5 rule – Gall said size was fixed, but Spurzheim has it can be modified which opened the door for treatment for individuals - Combe’s typology: it can be used in courts based on findings by phrenology to determine the level of guilt and the way to react to the crime (a typology of criminal responsibility) - if the skull reveals that the person should be able to control themselves they are guilty (higher faculty is bigger, lower is smaller) - lower is bigger, higher is smaller, then they should not be punished and instead treated - same size, then they are moderately responsible - amativeness (a faculty responsible for sexual desires) is the only organ that can grow in a Pennsylvania model of prison - elements of context (for criminal anthropology) - Charles Darwin - social Darwinism: critique of some aspects of society; society is too helpful with people who should not in normal conditions survive or reproduce - those who are ill-equipped for society should die so that progress can be achieved - we have a series of scientific of the inferiority of the black individuals (anthropology of race) – about showing superiority of white people (colonialism) - Lombroso’s criminal anthropology/ criminal man - studied in Italy - notion of the born criminal - he used different methods, one being craniometry: measuring the ability of the cranium to hold stuff (the normal individual has a bigger cranium, criminals have smaller ones) - also used anthropometry: measuring the person (length of nose, measuring distance between forehead and mouth, etc.) - developed a tool to measure the sensitivity to pain – the criminals he studied had tattoos, showing less sensitivity to pain - he wanted to establish a way to tell a criminal and non-criminal by looking at the body - if you are a born criminal, the only thing to do is to kill you - not all criminals are born criminals - criminal of passion: acting on emotions - insane criminal - mattoid: anarchists, people opposed to the unification of Italy - occasional criminal: pseudo-criminal (did a crime by accident), criminaloid (criminals of the moment, provided with an opportunity they will do it but otherwise restrain themselves), habitual criminal (in a regressive stage because of environmental factors such as poverty) - he was convinced that women think and feel less than men – they were inferior to men - a good lady would be feminine and law abiding, a bad lady would be masculine and criminal - crime is more frequent in men than in women, criminal women are unusual; Lombroso thought that when confronted with a criminal women they would be more savage, vicious, than men - constitutional theories - Goring: through the scientific observation of the body you can differentiate between a normal individual and a convicted individual – forms of body would somehow be responsible for crime (arsonists would be lacking in strength, stronger and healthier people would be more likely to do a violent crime, etc.) - Hootan: 3 types of bodies (slender, medium, heavy); most people would use the environment to explain their actions; criminals are low-grade organisms, inferior beings - Sheldon: 3 types of body, same as Hootan but named them endomorphy, mesomorphy, ectomorphy; body type would condition personality, attitudes, motivations - rated body types from 1-7, he would give a score and he managed to identify the criminal type, which is a mesomorphic (5.6, strong, atheletic, etc.)
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