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January 18, 2009 / C H Thompson

You look like a criminal!!

Lombroso is seen as being the first criminologist. Criminology is the study of crime and Lombroso sought to explain crime through scientific methods. Prior to this recidivism was simply seen as simply a sin borne out of an individual’s lombroso-767140free will and choice. And the difference between a criminal and non-criminal person is the former chooses to be a good rather bad person.

However Lombroso studied (scientifically) the body shapes and sizes of executed criminals and concluded:

1.Offenders were born to be criminal

2.These offenders inherited certain criminal characteristics

3.Physically these criminals had more in common with primitive people

4.Criminals had distinct physiological features such as large jaws, high foreheads and powerful canine teeth

Lombroso wasn’t alone with these ideas, as other academics of the period extended these arguments which Lombroso vict-lombrosoidentified certain behavioural or physiological anomalies or abnormalities which separates the criminal from the non-criminal.

What is important to appreciate is how recidivism in these ideas is seen to be in individual failings. However sociological approaches stress the significance of social factors in the causes of crime. And this is where we now progress to as the rise of sociology left Lombroso in the background for sometime but not completely!

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