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(1) Criminology is a social science dealing with the nature, and causes of crime; the characteristics of criminals and their organizations; the problems of apprehending and convicting offenders; the operation of prisons and other correctional institutions; the rehabilitation of convicts both, in and out of prison; and the prevention of crime.

(2) The science of criminology has two basic objectives: to determine the causes, whether personal or social, of criminal behaviour and to evolve valid principles for the social control of crime In pursuing these objectives, criminology draws on the findings of biology, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, and related fields,

(3) Criminology originated in the late 18th century when various movements began to question the humanity and efficiency of using punishment for retribution rather than deterrence and reform There arose as a consequence what is called the classical school of criminology, which aimed to mitigate legal penalties and humanise penal institutions. During the 19Lh century the positivist school attempted to extend scientific neutrality to the understanding of crime. Because they held that criminals were shaped by their environment, positivists emphasised case studies and rehabilitative measures. A later school, the 'social defence' movement, stressed the importance of balance between the rights of criminals and the rights of society.

(4) Criminologists commonly use several research techniques. The collection and interpretation of statistics is generally the initial step in research. The case study, often used by psychologists, concentrates on an individual or a group. The typological method involves classifying offences, criminals, or criminal areas according to various criteria. Sociological research, which may involve many different techniques, is used in criminology to study groups, subcultures, and gangs as well as rates and kinds of crime within geographic areas.

(5) Criminology has many practical applications. Its findings can give lawyers, judges, and prison officials a better understanding of criminals, which may lead to more effective treatment Criminological research can be used by legislators and in the reform of laws and of penal institutions.



Law of Babylon

One of the most detailed ancient legal codes was drawn up in about 1758 B.C. by Hammurabi, a king of Babylonia. The entire code, consisting of 282 paragraphs, was carved into a great stone pillar, which was set up in a temple to the Babylonian god Marduk so that it could be read by every citizen.

The pillar, lost for centuries after the fall of Babylon in the 16th century B.C., was rediscovered by a French archaeologist in 1901 amid the ruins of the Persian city of Susa. Hammurabi's words were still legible. The pillar is now in the Louvre museum in Paris.

The laws laid down by Hammurabi were more extensive than any that had gone before. They covered crime, divorce and marriage, the rights of slave owners and slaves, the settlement of debts, inheritance and property contracts; there were even regulations about taxes and the prices of goods.

Punishments under the code were often harsh. The cruel principle of revenge was observed: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, which meant that criminals had to receive as punishment precisely those injuries and damages they had inflicted upon their victims. Not only murderers but also thieves and false accusers faced the death penalty. And a child who hit his lather could expect to lose the hand that struck the blow. The code outlawed private blood feuds and banned the tradition by which a man could kidnap and keep the woman he wanted for his bride. In addition, the new laws took account of the circumstances of the offender as well as of the offence. So a lower-ranking citizen who lost a civil case would be fined less than an aristocrat in the same position though he would also Vic awarded less if he won.

Nevertheless, Hammurabi's laws represented an advance on earlier tribal customs, because the penalty could not be harder than the crime.



The Legal Heritage of Greece and Rome

The ancient Greeks were among the first to develop a concept of law that separated everyday law from religious beliefs. Before the Greeks most civilizations attributed their laws to their gods or goddesses. Instead, the Greeks believed that laws were made by the people for the people.

In the seventh century B.C., Draco"* drew up Greece's first written code of laws. Under Draco's code death was the punishment for most offenses. Thus, the term draconian usually applies to extremely harsh measures.

Several decades passed before Solon poet, military hero, and ultimately Athens' lawgiver devised a new code of. laws. Trial by jury, an ancient Greek tradition was retained, but enslaving debtors was prohibited as were most of the harsh punishments of Draco's code. Under Solon's law citizens of Athens were eligible to serve in the assembly and courts were established in which they could appeal government decisions.

What the Greeks may have contributed to the Romans was the concept of 'natural law'. In essence, natural law was based on the belief that certain basic principles are above the laws of a nation. These principles arise from the nature of people. The concept of natural law and the development of the first true legal system had a profound effect on the modern world.


Date: 2015-02-16; view: 2810

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In the courtroom | Solon (b. 630 d. 560 B.C.)
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