In this record I am exploring the theories produced by Italian criminologist, Cesare Lombroso and the honest implications of his work. He was the founder of the Italian institution of Criminology, which is also regarded as one of the pioneers of the field scheduled to his worldwide charm and notorious studies and ideas.
Cesare Lombroso was created in Verona, Italy in November 1835 and died in October 1909. His work gained a lot of attention in the area of criminology through the end of the 19th century and has been hugely influential since. His ideas have multiply not merely through Europe and america of America but across the world. His work has seduced many admirers and critics and sparked many debates on the grounds of ethics and morality. He is often referred to and considered as 'the daddy of modern criminology' (Wolfgang, 1972:232). He researched at universities in Italy and France and specialised in the fields of mental health, medication and criminology. He was the director associated with an insane asylum, he then became a professor of forensic treatments and hygiene and later became a teacher in criminal anthropology (Wolfgang 1972), though he's best know as the founder of the Italian college of Criminology. Lombroso discontinued the known Classical approach (eighteenth century work of Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria) which assumed that folks have free will in decision making. Instead he drew upon ideas from physiognomy, eugenics, psychiatry and cultural Darwinism. Lombroso fundamentally stated that criminal behavior was inherent and a 'born felony' could be identified using their company physical flaws, which identified a criminal as atavistic or as an evolutionary throwback.
Lombroso's ideas turn out at a time when Italy was going right through many interpersonal and financial problems, poverty and law enforcement officials problem where among a few them. There have been also concerns with recidivism and jail population. What's more, the price of policing places and imprisoning criminals was ever growing. Every one of of these issues increased general public awareness in crime and criminal behavior, so that prisons growingly became over filled more importance was located on predicting and discovering individuals that were liable to commit criminal offenses, this raises moral questions of prejudice and discrimination. Lombroso's basic theory suggested that criminals are distinguished from non criminals by multiple physical anomalies. He claimed that criminals symbolized degeneration to a primitive type of man characterized by physical features similar compared to that of apes and early man. (Atavistic behavior - the inclination to revert to ancestral type)
Lombroso popularised the idea of the 'blessed lawbreaker' through biological determinism, claiming that criminal behavior had not been free will but biologically determined (opposes classical college). He said that criminals have especially distinct physical traits and abnormalities. He drew after ideas from; Physiognomy which tries to approximate personality or character traits based on physical features from the facial skin or the body; Eugenics, which is the study of selective mating put on humans; Psychiatry, which is the procedure and study of mental disorders and public Darwinism or popularly known as 'success of the fittest.
Lombroso became persuaded that the "born unlawful" could be anatomically identified by physical atavistic stigmas such as; large jaws, low slanting foreheads, high cheekbones, flattened or upturned nostril, handle molded ears, dominant chins, hawk like noses, fleshy lips, shifty eyes, scanty beard or hair loss, insensitivity to pain and long forearms. We were holding all apparent signals of criminality.
Lombroso's theory of the 'born criminal' or of atavism was inspired by his health background. Whilst at university or college he achieved a diploma in medicine and in surgery. Throughout his time at college or university he developed an interest in psychology, which later advanced into an interest in psychiatry. Lombroso volunteered as a medical doctor for the army, during this time period he observed 3000 soldiers and attempted to assess their physical distinctions (Wolfgang 1972). Lombroso reinforced the study of individuals using skull measurements in compiling data. He attempted to develop a scientific method to determine criminal behaviour and identify individuals capable of the most extreme and sadistic types of criminal activity. It had been from this connection with examining soldiers that he created his observations on tattooing. He later recognized tattooing as a characteristic of a unlawful.
The essential notion of Lombroso's work came to him as he autopsied the body associated with an Italian criminal. Whilst taking a look at the skull of the offender he observed certain characteristics that were similar compared to that of skulls of second-rate races and/or of apes.
Lombroso completed research through years of post-mortem examinations and anthropometric studies of criminals, the crazy and normal individuals. His research methods were specialized medical and descriptive, with exact details of skull measurements and other measurements. However he didn't have sufficient control groups which can have modified his standard conclusions.
Lombroso also analyzed girl criminality. This started out with measurements of females' skulls and photographs in his search for atavism. He found that feminine criminals were unusual and revealed little indicators of degeneration. Lombroso argued it was the females' natural passivity that withheld them from breaking the law, as they lacked the intellect and initiative to be criminal. Further, women who commit crimes possessed different physical characteristics, such as increased body hair, lines and wrinkles, and an excessive skull (Lombroso 1980).
In attempting to predict criminality by the styles of the skulls and other physical features of criminals, he previously in place created a fresh pseudoscience of forensic phrenology and craniometry.
Ethics had not been a concern for Lombroso during his life-time because his work was carried out in a period when poverty, police corruption and criminal offenses rates were at a high. It was also an interval where many state governments of Italy were ruled by international forces such as Austria and France. Italy was divided into separate states, including the Papal Express, Venice and the Kingdom of two Sicily's. These divisions supposed that Italy did not have a blended sense of countrywide direction. There was also a history of a wealthy and poor split between the north and south of Italy. The north of Italy experienced a brief history of wealth and it also became Europe's primary company of silk. However the south of Italy got a record of being poor. The main source of the south of Italy was farming but any advancements in farming techniques practised in the north of Italy and throughout European countries had not come to the south and several regions had considered criminal offense and banditry. Education was poor and many children went to work on the farms and in sulphur mines. It had been from this poverty and insufficient education that the Sicilian mafia was created during the mid 1800s. Offense, poverty and law enforcement corruption were among only a several social and monetary problems confronted by the country, and to increase its woes, Italy was one of the most over crowded countries in Europe. This resulted in less jobs being available and those jobs that were available offered low wages, fees were high and crime rates were increasing, therefore resulted in over packed prisons and a higher rate of recidivism credited to a lack of opportunities for those newly released from incarceration. This then led to a higher cost of policing every one of the places and imprisoning criminals and do it again offenders.
There was a strong distinction between your industrial liberal north and the agricultural, conservative south. However, lots of the folks of Italy had hoped that unification of the united states would end the poverty and with time reduce criminal offense rates. This is not the case, though many elements of the north of Italy had advanced the country was still in turmoil and by enough time Italy possessed gained Independence and was unified it was a comparatively new yet weak country.
It is then, for all of these reasons that I believe ethics had not been an issue for Lombroso. He provided the folks of Italy with an answer or a reason to why certain people acted criminally or were criminals. People for hundreds of years have presumed in the typical stereotypes of criminals. A person was labelled a criminal if they got shifty eye, was unshaven or gruff looking, had a bent posture or a muscular physique. Lombroso's work gave scientific verification to rear up and support this common way of thinking. His work, therefore, honest or not, had not been questioned. His ideas also provided a new way to review criminal offenses; it allowed or helped the authorities to recognize criminals before these criminals actually devoted any kind of crime.
Lombroso's idea of the born offender raises the question of nature vs. nurture. The traditional school of thought holds that criminal offenses is acted upon free will and options made by the average person. However, Lombroso thought that criminals were born with the innate desire and inclination to commit criminal offenses or that they had some form of hereditary or mental disorder which induced them to be criminals; such as sufferers of epilepsy and schizophrenia. He thought that there is a correlation between your born offender and the emotionally retarded as well as the epileptic. Furthermore, Lombroso argued that although rates of offense were low for females, they were fiercer in their activities. He held the idea that ladies were like children; these were unforgiving, envious, morally missing and predisposed to spitefulness (Lombroso 1980). Also, as well as distinctive physical characteristics being identifiers of any criminal, he thought that unlawful slang and tattooing were indicative of criminals.
His theories raise many moral issues; if his ideas were practised today there would be an outrage and an outcry of immorality. If Lombroso's work was being considered by an ethics committee today, they would firstly have to look at a number of major ethical issues, such as; what's being studied, who's being studied and how is the analysis going to be completed. The first problem of what is being examined is not so much an ethical matter because crime, crime reduction and legal behaviour have always been examined as it can be an immense sociable need.
However, the second issue of who's being examined brings to light many ethical concerns within Lombroso's work. More often than not, concentration for research is put on the indegent and minorities, ignoring the middle classes which may be committing white scruff of the neck offense. In Lombroso's case he centered on ethnic minorities, namely black people and the ones with physical or mental abnormalities, overlooking other causative factors such as poverty, engagement in unlawful activity and a minimal standard or too little education. One must then ask the question; could it be moral to publicise prejudiced or subjective research results which lead to help expand prejudice and discrimination. Also Lombroso's review of female criminality raises ethical questions; he considered them inferior and incapable of committing criminal offenses, however those that did commit crime shared the same characteristics as their man counterparts, such as physical or mental abnormalities.
The third problem of how the study is going to be conducted also increases lots of moral concerns. Lombroso's methods included observing military whilst volunteering for medical services in the military; he also received authorization to study mental patients in a hospital in Pavia (Wolfgang 1972). One must ask whether or not the people he witnessed were alert to the fact that these were being studied in an effort to prove the significance of physical and mental abnormalities with regards to crime and crime rates. He also lacked satisfactory control groups which might have modified his conclusions; this then increases questions about the accuracy and reliability of his data.
Though nobody could be straight, physically harmed the consequences of being top quality a criminal simply on physical performances or mental fragility, in this point in time, would be bad. Not merely were his ideas unethical and prejudiced, nonetheless they were racist and sexist.
The assumption that someone exists criminal eliminates peoples ability of choice and you can argue that this means we as people have no free will if we appear different, dependent on the definition of normal, then we have been criminals or at least willing like that. His ideas have an enormous potential for damage as they abandon all other alternatives and causes of delinquency. Poverty, alcoholism, engagement in criminal activity, social class and poor or insufficient education were all factors of crime but were dismissed. Lombroso's ideas arrived at a convenient time which allowed the bigger class to not look at the existing social problems and possible reasons for crime.
However, Lombroso's ideas were later shown to be highly inconsistent or plainly inexistent, and ideas based on the environmental causation of criminality became dominant.
Although Cesare Lombroso is regarded as a pioneer of criminology, his work emerged under heavy criticism with interpersonal scientists and also elevated many ethical questions. Lombroso was greatly criticised for his ideas regarding the blessed criminal, atavism and phrenology. However, there are criminologists today that would dispute that criminals are indeed blessed that way. There's also many that believe that brain pathology is a reason behind violent crime. Let us remember though that he paved the way for others to look at the impact of biology associated with criminal behaviour. Although his ideas have been medically discredited, Lombroso got the plus point of mentioning the value of the scientific tests of the unlawful mind, a field which became known as unlawful anthropology. Also regardless of the unscientific aspect of his theories, Lombroso was hugely influential across the world.
However, considering all of Lombroso's theories and the ethical implications of his work, one could claim that if his work was brought in front of an ethics committee today, he would be rejected ethics approval to handle any further studies or research, as it's the responsibility of the ethics committee to protect the rights, safeness and welfare of any people involved in any kind of research or study.
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