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Biological Determinism: The Search for Criminal Traits

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1 Biological Determinism: The Search for Criminal Traits
Physiognomy: The study of facial features and their relation to human behaviour. Giambattisti della Porta suggested that a thief had large lips and sharp vision. By 19th century, these sciences introduced specific biological factors into the study of crime causation ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. LO3

2 ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.
Phrenology Posited that bumps on the head were indications of psychological propensities. Franz Joseph Gall & Johann Kaspar Spurzheim. A criminological examination according to an 1890 caricature. LO3 ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.

3 ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.
The Italian School Lombroso Replaced the concept of free will with that of determinism. The ‘born criminal’ and atavistic stigmata – physical features of criminals at an earlier stage of development before they became fully human. Added two categories to the born criminal: Insane criminals and criminoloids. Insane are not criminal from birth; become criminal from a change in their brains. Criminoloids make up a groups that includes habitual criminals, criminals by passion and other diverse types. ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. LO3

4 ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.
The Italian School Ferri Agreed with biological bases of criminal behaviour. Also recognized importance of social, economic, and political determinants. Key: adherence to preventive measures based on scientific methods. Garofalo Study of crime through scientific methods. Look to psychological or ‘moral anomalies’ for roots of criminal behaviour. ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. LO3

5 Challenges to Lombrosian Theory
Charles Goring: Offered the major challenge to Lombrosian theory. Studied 3,000 convicts and compared them to Oxford and Cambridge University students, hospital patients, and soldiers . His research assistant was Karl Pearson, a famous statistician. Successfully disputed Lombroso’s claim of a born criminal with the data that he collected. ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. LO3

6 Return to Biological Determinism
Somatotype school: related body build to behaviour. Kretschmer’s three physiques: asthenic, athletic & pyknic Sheldon’s three physiques: endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph MESOMORPHS said to be more likely to be involved in criminal behaviour (physically powerful, aggressive, athletic physiques) Glueck & Glueck: conducted studies on delinquents based on Sheldon’s somatotypes Eugenics – the science of controlled reproduction to improve hereditary qualities. Inherited Criminality Richard Dugdale studied the Jukes family. Long list of criminals in Jukes family led theorists like Dugdale to research a ‘degenerate trait’ ©2012 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. LO3

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