CRIMINOLOGY, a modern term invented to describe the results of recent inquiries into the personal or social factors which determine criminal misconduct, but which has, in the hands of its more recent exponents, come to include the whole prob lem of crime and its treatment in human society. A comprehen sive study of the subject to-day would, therefore, draw its ma terial from history, sociology and law, as well as from psychology, anthropology and social ethics. It gathers criminal statistics with the view of ascertaining the crime rate and its upward or down ward trend in different countries and, in the same country, in different areas of population, in communities of varying national or racial origin or living on different economic levels. It seeks the springs of misconduct and of criminal propensity through the intensive study of the mental and social history of the indi vidual delinquent, and it undertakes to classify criminals on the basis of the causative factors thus disclosed. It aims to establish a rationale of punishment or of other treatment of the delin quent by a similar study of the efficacy and the social utility of the machinery of criminal justice in various countries, rang ing from the method of the police and the courts to the prisons, the death penalty and the modern devices of probation and parole. All these fields of activity are being industriously and hopefully explored by eager students in all parts of the civilized world. If the results thus far realized are too meagre and un certain to constitute a body of true scientific knowledge, the same may be said of any other of the so-called social sciences. Certainly criminology has struck at the core of its problem in its present resolute effort to win an understanding of the criminal mind.
It seems incredible, but it is nevertheless a fact, that, prior to the publication of Lombroso's L'Uomo delinquente (The Crim inal), which was given to the world in 1876, there had never been offered a serious, scientific approach to the study of the criminal. It is true that some 75 years earlier the Viennese physician and phrenologist, Franz Joseph Gall, then resident in Paris, had laid down the proposition that criminal tendencies were probably innate, and might be detected by the conformation of the skull, but his suggestion was not taken up by his disciples. There is no evidence that it was known to Lombroso.
Lombroso's theory of the criminal as a sub-human anthropological freak, marked by anatomical and other stigmata and doomed by his nature to a criminal career, was at once accepted by a majority of students in Italy, and by scholars and writers of distinction in other European coun tries. Though subjected to weighty criticism, and though never received in any English-speaking community, it became, and for a generation remained, the dominant doctrine of European students of the problem of crime. The adherents of the doctrine, at first known as the Italian and later as the Continental school of criminology, have, under the influence of its most eloquent and learned modern interpreter, Enrico Ferri, claimed the title of the Positive school.
But the central doctrine of these thinkers did not long stand in the unqualified form in which it was originally promulgated. Even Lombroso himself, before his death in 19o9, had modified his views to the extent of admitting that the born anthropological criminals numbered perhaps not more than half of those com mitting criminal offences. These were the true criminals, the other half being made up of the victims of circumstances. These modifications of the original doctrine were the result partly of the researches and conclusions of some of Lombroso's immedi ate Italian disciples, such as Raffaele Garofalo and Enrico Ferri, but even more, perhaps, of the challenging writings of the Dutch publicist, William A. Bonger, who emphasized the influence of economic conditions, and of the French philosopher, Gabriel Tarde, and others, who attributed criminality mainly to the psychic impulse of imitation. While all these efforts, like the doctrine impeached by them, were vitiated by the aim of fur nishing a single explanation of the extremely complicated and puzzling problem of the persistence of crime in an orderly civili zation, each and every one of them, nevertheless, made a con tribution to the criminology of the future.
It remained, how ever, for an English physician, Dr. Charles Goring, medical offi cer of H.M. prison service, to demonstrate the fallacy of the central assumption of the Italian criminologists. Adopting more rigorous methods of examination and measurement of inmates of the English prisons and correlating the results with similar examination and measurements of members of the law-abiding community, he proved conclusively that criminals, as a class, differ more widely among themselves than they do from the com munity outside and that the latter show the same stigmata of criminality that criminals possess. In his work, The English Convict (1913), Dr. Goring announced, as an "inevitable con clusion" from his researches "that there is no such thing as a physical criminal type," a conclusion which is now accepted by every criminologist of standing. Dr. Goring's further conclusion, stated with equal positiveness, that "there is no such thing as a mental criminal type," while it is also generally accepted, rests upon no such satisfactory basis of evidence and may be regarded as open to contradiction.
Whatever may be the merits or the defects of the specific doctrine which will always bear Lombroso's name, his work has these outstanding merits : it first gave the study of the criminal a scientific basis and it powerfully stimulated technical as well as popular interest in the problem. Prior to his time there had been few to question the traditional view of the criminal as a wicked person deliberately and perversely choosing the evil rather than the good. Even the penal reforms with which the names of the Italian Beccaria and the English Romilly and Bentham are associated were inspired almost entirely by humanitarian mo tives. But since Lombroso's death the scientific study of the criminal and of the personal and social factors that are favour able to his development has been going on with increasing mo mentuin.
Except in the field of penology (q.v.), America was late in getting into the current of crimin ological thought. Here there were eminent prison reformers be fore Howard and Romilly, and the first American penitentiary, for better or for worse, became the model of the European con vict prison. It is in the United States, too, that the most hope ful and daring experiments in the treatment of the convicted offender were undertaken. But it was not till the first decade of the present century that the scientific study of the criminal be gan to receive the serious attention of students of the subject. This significant change of emphasis was, perhaps, primarily due to the rapidly developing interest of the new psychology in mor bid and defective mental conditions, an interest which has pow erfully stimulated the growth of that branch of medical science now known as psychiatry (q.v.). The psychologist found his most interesting and revealing material for the study of the mind in the asylums or hospitals for the insane, and it was only a short step further to the study of similar abnormal types of personality in the prison, with the result that it is scarcely too much to say that in 1929 every psychiatrist is a criminologist. This develop ment, which went on pari passu in England and on the Continent and was, in f act, largely inspired by the writings of Freud, Jung and other European students, has, in recent years, become the dominant influence in criminological thought on both sides of the Atlantic.
During the same quarter century that has witnessed this extraordinary development of psychologic thought, the social sciences have been turning more and more from speculation and the discussion of general prin ciples to the concrete study of the workings of the social mechan ism. Particularly in America, where sociology is a highly fa voured study, the science has been greatly enriched and is being in a measure reconstructed through the critical investigation of existing personal and social conditions. Thus we have surveys of cities and towns or of rural communities in which the social conditions which breed dependency and delinquency are brought to light, and "case-studies" of dependent families or of children "in trouble," through which the domestic or individual factors which lie behind the trouble are disclosed and analyzed. Usually the psychologist with his mental tests or the psychiatrist, with his psychoanalytic apparatus and his interpretation of the reac tion of the individual to his specific environment, is at hand to contribute his diagnosis to make up the sum of knowledge which the social worker requires. (See SOCIOLOGY.) From these combined influences three results of first-rate im portance are already in evidence. The first of these is that crim inology is less and less concerned with the identification and de scription of the criminal and more and more with the understand ing of the individual offender; the second, that the principal emphasis is being laid, perhaps to an excessive degree, on the mental study of the delinquent ; and the third, that the medical concept of treatment is by way of superseding the legal concept of punishment. The reference here is, of course, to the attitude of the criminologist and not of the public nor of the agencies of law enforcement, which cling to their idols. It is worthy of note how impervious the public and the courts are to the influence of criminological thought. Even the doctrines of Lombroso, during the generation when they were in the ascendant and commanded the allegiance of most Continental students, made practically no impression on the criminal law or procedure of any European country.
Opinion among crimi nologists differs too much as to causes of criminal misconduct to justify a confident statement of their views, but the following ten tative summary may, perhaps, be ventured as representing the trend, if not a consensus, of opinion. There is no criminal class except in so far as criminal misconduct has with certain individuals become habitual. Criminals are selected by force of circumstances (and here the economic factor comes into play) from the com munity at large. The insane, the mentally defective and the psychopathic stand the best chance of being so selected.
It has been upon the whole a fortunate circumstance that, as outlined above, criminology has been adopted into the family of the social sciences. If this robs it of the independent status con ferred upon it by its parentage, it has, on the other hand, enor mously enlarged its range and utility. Crime now presents itself as only one of many inter-related social phenomena of a malignant character, such as the persistence of poverty, of widespread disease, and of mental disorder and defect. Criminology profits by, and it makes its peculiar contribution to, the study of each of these related disorders of the social body and, like the other social sciences, it furnishes a reflection of the state of health of the community in which crime is permitted to flourish.
a few items from the abundant recent literaBibliography.-Only a few items from the abundant recent litera- ture of the subject can be given here. For the purposes of the general reader the following are perhaps the most useful: J. Devon, The Crim inal and the Community (1911) ; C. Goring, The English Convict (1913) ; K. Birnbaum, Die Psychopathischen Verbrecher (1914) ; Vt. Healy, The Individual Delinquent (1915) ; M. Parmelee, Criminology (1918) ; C. Mercier, Crime and Criminals (1919) ; W. I. Thomas, The Unadjusted Girl (1923) ; E. H. Sutherland, Criminology (1924) ; Jane Addams and others, The Child, The Clinic and The Court (1925) ; Miriam Van Waters, Youth in Conflict (1925) ; J. L. Gillin, Crim inology and Penology (1926) ; Boris Brazol, The Elements of Crime (1927) ; Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology (1910-28) ; H. Wyndham, Criminology (1929) .
(G. W. Kr.)