Criminology is the scientific investigation of crime, its causes in society, its patterns
of repetition, and community responses to criminal behavior. Criminology as an
academic discipline only started during mid to late 1800’s in Europe. (Wikipedia, 2007 [online]). Previous to this,
Criminology was generally a branch of theology, for the religious determination
of crimes based in systems of faith and their moralities.
In the early and late 20th century, investigators in the field of
Criminology began to view the issues in a more cross cultural and relativistic
manner. Otherwise, the main questions of Criminology are a matter of social control
and related to ruling political strategies. The rise of the modern nation state and the institutionalisation of punishment
systems by democratic societies were largely patterned on those of previous authoritarian, aristocratic, or theological models
of punishment, according to Criminology historians. The penitentiary is a good
example of this, originally determined as a place to provide a space for penitence and repentance by a prisoner guilty of
a moral crime. Criminology posits that these isolated penitentiaries became the
overcrowded prisons of modern industrial states as a matter of practicality.
Criminology also creates patterns of social authority to be modeled by law enforcement officials,
and Criminology may be related to legal, psychological, or sociological approaches
to the issues involved (asc41.com 2007 [online]). Criminology
may be undertaken by government agencies, social work groups, NGOs, or academics for a number of reasons. The main task of
Criminology is to present statistics and patterns to authority that they may be
understood, regulated, and responded in the appropriate manner by the forces of state control. There is also a school of Criminology
that asserts alternatives to capital punishment, incarceration, or other harsh forms of punishment in favor of reformed, or
non-violent, means of state control.
Criminology is also tasked with the need to find alternatives to prison or jail based punishments
for non-violent offenders. In some instances, Criminology may involve developing
social programs to treat the root causes of crime, mentoring, counseling, or psychological treatment programs. Another major
function of criminology is to create crime statistics, and monitor pattern in
crime statistics (aic.gov.au 2007 [online]). The hope is that Criminology will allow an evaluation of the success or failure of social approaches to the treatment of crime
or law enforcement techniques. Criminology may also be used to create counseling
or training programs for law enforcement or prison officials designed to educate them about the social and psychological factors
that fuel crime, that the understanding may allow them to use Criminology to be
more efficient in their day to day work. The standard goal of criminology is to assist in the realisation of a free society
without crime, but it is more often forced to serve as a means for devising more effective and efficient coercive punishments.
For this reason, many sub-schools within the field of criminology exist. Criminology is currently tasked with finding a way to transform the legal justice system in many countries into
one that promotes more non-violent and non-coercive responses to crime.
1) URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminology.
Last accessed, Nov. 11th, 2007.
2) URL http://www.asc41.com. Last accessed, Nov. 11th, 2007.
3) URL http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/facts. Last accessed, Nov. 11th,