Enrico Ferri.

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Che Criminology series.


Illustrated. I2mo. Cloth, $1.50.

"A book of strong conclusions, and nobody who reads it
will wonder that it should have excited wide interest." New
York Sun.

" Will be sure to attract universal attention and excite much
favorable comment." Boston Budget.

" A valuable addition to the- works on criminology, and may
also prove of inestimable help in the prevention of crime."
Detroit Free Press.

" Must be considered a very valuable addition to scientific
literature. ... It is not alone to the scientist that the work
will recommend itself. The humanitarian, anxious for the
reform of the habitual criminal, will find in its pages many
valuable suggestions." Philadelphia Times.

" There is no book of recent issue that bears such important
relation to the great subject of criminology as this book."
New Haven Leader.

"Of great value as a basis for study and further investiga-
tion, and Professor Lombroso deserves to win fame as a reward
for the immense labor involved." Phila. Kvening Bulletin.

"Every student of criminology, penology, etc., will find
this volume deeply interesting, replete with information de-
rived from a wide range of experience and observation."
Eimira Telegram.

"Thisbookwill probably constitute one of the mostvaluable
contributions in aid of a nineteenth- century sign of advanced
civilization known as prison reform." Cincinnati Times-Star.



In preparation.




New York: D. APPLETON & Co., 72 Fifth Avenue.








Authorized Edition.


THE following pages are a translation of that portion
of Professor Ferri's volume on Criminal Sociology
which is immediately concerned with the practical
problems of criminality. The Report of the Govern-
ment committee appointed to inquire into the treat-
ment of habitual drunkards, the Report of the
committee of inquiry into the best means of identi-
fying habitual criminals, the revision of the English
criminal returns, the Reports of committees ap-
pointed to inquire into the administration of prisons
and the best methods of dealing with habitual
offenders, vagrants, beggars, inebriate and juvenile
delinquents, are all evidence of the fact that tht
formidable problem of crime is again pressing its
way to the front and demanding re-examination
at the hands of the present generation. The real
dimensions of the question, as Professor Ferri points
out, are partially hidden by the superficial interpre-
tations which are so often placed upon the returns
relating to crime. If the population of prisons or
penitentiaries should happen to be declining, this
is immediately interpreted to mean that crime is


on the decrease. And yet a cursory examination
of the facts is sufficient to show that a decrease
in the prison population is merely the result of
shorter sentences and the substitution of fines or
other similar penalties for imprisonment. If the
list of offences for trial before a judge and
jury should exhibit any symptoms of diminution,
this circumstance is immediately seized upon as a
proof that the criminal population is declining, and
yet the diminution may merely arise from the fact
that large numbers of cases which used to be tried
before a jury are now dealt with summarily by a
magistrate. In other words, what we witness is a
change of judicial procedure, but not necessarily a
decrease of crime. Again, when it is pointed out
that the number of persons for trial for indictable
offences in England and Wales amounted to 53,044
in 1874-8 and 56,472 in 1889-93, we are at a loss
to see what colour these figures give to the state-
ment that there has been a real and substantial
decrease of crime. The increase, it is true, may
not be keeping pace with the growth of the general
population, but, as an eminent judge recently stated
from the bench, this is to be accounted for by the
fact that the public is every year becoming more
lenient and more unwilling to prosecute. But an
increase of leniency, however excellent in itself, is
not to be confounded with a decrease of crime. In
the study of social phenomena our paramount duty
is to look at facts and not appearances.

But whether criminality is keeping pace with the
growth of population or not it is a problem of great


magnitude all the same, and it will not be solved,
as Professor Ferri points out, by a mere resort to
punishments of greater rigour and severity. On
this matter he is at one with the Scotch depart-
mental committee appointed to inquire into the
best means of dealing with habitual offenders, va-
grants, and juveniles. As far as the suppression of
vagrancy is concerned the members of the committee
are unanimously of opinion that " the severest enact- 1
ments of the general law are futile, and that the best I
results have been obtained by the milder provisions I
of more recent statutes." They also speak of the
" utter inadequacy of the present system in all the
variety of detail which it offers to deter the habitual
offender from a course of life which devolves the
cost of his maintenance on the prison and the poor-
house when he is not preying directly on the public."
The committee state that they have had testimony
from a large number of witnesses supporting the
view that " long sentences of imprisonment effect no
good result," and they arrive at the conclusion that
to double the present sentences would not diminish
the number of habitual offenders]'*'* In this conclusion
they are at one with the views of the Royal Com-
mission on Penal Servitude, which acquiesced in
the objection to the penal servitude system on the
ground that it " not only fails to reform offenders,
but in the case of the less hardened criminals and
especially first offenders produces a deteriorating
effect." A similar opinion was recently expressed
by the Prisons Committee presided over by Mr.
Herbert Gladstone. As soon as punishment reaches


a point at which it makes men worse than they
were before, it becomes useless as an instrument of
reformation or social defence.

The proper method of arriving at a more or less
satisfactory solution of the criminal problem is to
inquire into the causes which are producing the
criminal population, and to institute remedies based
upon the results of such an inquiry. Professor
Ferri's volume has this object in view. The first
chapter, on the data of Criminal Anthropology, is
an inquiry into the individual conditions which tend
to produce criminal habits of mind and action. The
second chapter, on the data of criminal statistics,
is an examination of the adverse social conditions
which tend to drive certain sections of the popula-
tion into crime. It is Professor Ferri's contention
that the volume of crime will not be materially
diminished by codes of criminal law however skil-
fully they may be constructed, but by an a^tfefiora- '
tion of the adverse individual and social conditions
of the community as a whole. Crime is a product
of these adverse conditions, and the only effective
way of grappling with it is to do away as far as
possible with the causes from which it springs. Al-
though criminal codes can do comparatively little
towards the reduction of crime, they are absolutely
essential for the protection of society. Accordingly,
the last chapter, on Practical Reforms, is intended
to show how criminal law and prison administration
may be made more effective for purposes of social


W, D. M.





Origin of Criminal Sociology, I Origin of Criminal Anthro-
pology, 4 Methods of Criminal Anthropology, 4 Relation
between Criminal Anthropology and C/iminal Sociology, 5
Criminal Anthropology studies the organic and mental con-
stitution of the criminal, 7 The criminal skull and brain, 7
Criminal physiognomy, 8 Physical insensibility among
criminals, 9 Criminal heredity, 9 Criminal psychology, 9
Moral insensibility among criminals, IO The criminal mind,
10. II. The data of criminal anthropology only applies to
the habitual or congenital criminal, n The occasional and
habitual criminal, 1 1 Comparison between the criminal and
non-criminal skull, 12 Anomalies in the criminal skull, 12
The habitual criminal, 13 The crimes of habitual crimi-
nals, 14 The criminal type confined to habitual criminals,
1 8 The proportion of habitual criminals in the criminal
population, 18 Forms of habitual criminality, 19 Forms
of occasional criminality, 21 Classification of criminals, 23
Criminal lunatics, 26 Moral insanity, 26 Born criminals,
28 Criminals by acquired habit, 30 Criminal precocity, 31
Nature of juvenile crime, 32 Relapsed criminals, 35
Precocity and relapse among criminals, 38 Criminals of
passion, 39 Occasional criminals, 41 Differences between



the occasional and the born criminal, 41 Criminal types
shade into each other, 44 Numbers of several classes of
criminals, 46 Value of a proper classification of criminals,
47 A fourfold classification, 48.


Value of criminal statistics, 51 The three factors of crime,
52 Anthropological factors, 53 Physical factors, 53
Social factors, 53 Crime a product of complex conditions,
54 Social conditions do not explain crime, 55 Effects of
temperature on crime, 58 Crime a result of biological as
well as social conditions, 59 The measures to be taken
against crime are of two kinds, preventive and eliminative,
61 The fluctuations of crime chiefly produced by social
causes, 61 Steadiness of the graver forms of crime, 63
Effect of judicial procedure on criminal statistics, 64 Crimes
against the person are high when crimes against property are
low, 64 Is crime increasing or decreasing ? 64 Official
optimism in criminal statistics, 67 Density of population
and crime, 73 Conditions on which the fluctuations of crime
depend, 77 Quetelet's law of the mechanical regularity of
crime, 80 The effect of environment on crime, 81 The
effect of punishment on crime, 82 The value of punishment
is over-estimated, 82 Statistical proofs of this, 86 Bio-
logical and sociological proofs, 92 Crime is diminished by
prevention not by repression, 96 Legislators and adminis-
trators rely too much on repression, 98 The basis of the
belief in punishment, 99 Natural and legal punishment,
103 The discipline of consequences, 104 The uncertainty
of legal punishment, 105 Want of foresight among criminals,
105 Penal codes cannot alter invincible tendencies, 106
Force is no remedy, 107 Negative value of punishment, 109.
II. Substitutes for punishment, no The elimination of the
causes of crime, 113 Economic remedies for crime, 114 .
Drink and crime, 116 Drunkenness an effect of bad social
conditions, 120 Taxation of drink, 120 Laws against


drink, 121 Social amelioration a substitute for penal law,
121 Social legislation and crime, 122 Political ameliora-
tion as a preventive of crime, 124 Decentralisation a pre-
ventive, 126 Legal and administrative preventives, 128
Prisoners' Aid Societies, 130 Education and crime, 130
Popular entertainments and crime, 131 Physical education
as a remedy for crime, 131 To diminish crime its causes
must be eliminated, 132 The aim and scope of penal
substitutes, 134 Difficulty of applying penal substitutes,
137 Difference between social and police prevention, 139
Limited efficacy of punishment, 140 Summary of con-
clusions, 141.



Criminal sociology and penal legislation, 143 Classification
of punishments, 144 The reform of criminal procedure, 145
The two principles of judicial procedure, 147 Principles
determining the nature of the sentence, 147 Present prin-
ciples of penal procedure a reaction against mediaeval abuses,
147 The "presumption of innocence," 148 The verdict of
"Not Proven," 149 The right of appeal, 151 A second
trial, 151 Reparation to the victims of crime, 152 Need for
a Ministry of Justice, 153 Public and private prosecutors,
154 The growing tendency to drop criminal charges, 155
The tendency to minimise the official returns of crime, 156
Roman penal law, 156 Revision of judicial- errors, 158
Reparation to persons wrongly convicted, 158 Provision of
I funds for this purpose, 1 60 Reparation to persons wrongly
prosecuted, 161 Many criminal offences should be tried as
civil offences, 162 The object of a criminal trial, 163. II. The
crime and the criminal, 164 The stages of a criminal trial,
165 The evidence, 1 66 Anthropological evidence, 166
The utilisation of hypnotisad, 168 Psychological and psycho-
pathological evidence, 1 68 The credibility of witnesses, 168
Expert evidence, 169 An advocate of the poor, 172 The
judge and his qualifications, 172 Civil and criminal judges


should be distinct functionaries, 173 The student of law
should study criminals, 174 Training of police and prison
officers, 174 The status of the criminal judge, 175 The
authority of the judge, 176. III. Thejury, 177 Origin of the
jury, 178 Advantages of the jury, 179 Defects of the jury,
180 The jury as a protection to liberty, 182 The jury and
criminal law, 184 Juries untrained and irresponsible, 186
Numbers fatal to wisdom, 188 Defects of judges, 193
Difference between the English and Continental jury, 194
Social evolution and the jury, 196 The jury compared to the
electorate, 197 How to utilise the jury, 198. IV. Existing
prison systems a failure, 201 Defects of existing penal
systems, 2OI The abuse of short sentences, 202 The
growth of recidivism, 203 Garofalo's scheme of punish-
ments, 204 Von Liszt's scheme of punishments, 206 The
basis of a rational system of punishment, 207 The inde-
terminate sentence, 207 Flogging, 210 The indefinite
sentence for habitual offenders, 211 Van Hamel's proposals
as to sentences, 212 The liberation of prisoners on an
indefinite sentence, 213 The supervision of punishment,
213 Conditional release, 215 Good conduct test in prisons,
216 Police supervision, 216 Indemnification of the victims
of crime, 217 The duty of the State towards the victims of
crime, 222 Defensive measures must be adapted to the
different classes of criminals, 225 Uniformity of punish-
ment, 225 The prison staff, 227 Classification of prisoners,
227 Prison labour, 228. V. Asylums for criminal lunatics,
230 The treatment of insane criminals, 232 Crime anc
madness, 234 Classification of asylums for criminal
237 The treatment of born criminals, 238 The
penalty, 239 Extension of the death penalty, 243
quacy of the death penalty, 245 Imprisonment for 117246
Transportation, 248 Labour settlements, 249 Estab-
lishments for habitual criminals, 250 Criminal heredity, 251
Incorrigible offenders, 252 Cumulative sentences, 253
Uncorrected or incorrigible criminals, 254 Cellular prisons,
256 Solitary confinement, 257 The progressive system of
imprisonment, 257 The evils of cellular imprisonment, 260
The cell does not secure separation, 262 Costliness of the
cellular system, 263 Labour under the cellular system, 264
Open-air work the best for prisoners, 265 The treatment
of habitual criminals, 266 The treatment of occasional


criminals, 267 The treatment of young offenders, 268
Futility of short sentences, 268 Substitutes for short sen-
tences, 269 Compulsory work without imprisonment, 271
Conditional sentences, 271 Conditional sentences in
Belgium, 273 Conditional sentences in the United States,
275 Objections to conditional sentences, 276 When the
conditional sentence is legitimate, 282 The treatment of
criminals of passion, 282 Conclusion, 284.


namely, to study crime from its first principles, as an
abstract entity dependent upon law.

Here and there since the time of Beccaria another
stream of theory has made itself manifest. Thus
there is the correctional school, which Roeder brought
into special prominence not many years ago. But
though it flourished in Germany, less in Italy and
France, and somewhat more in Spain, it had no long
existence as an independent school, for it was only too
easily confuted by the close sequence of inexorable
facts. Moreover, it could do no more than oppose
a few humanitarian arguments on the reformation of
offenders to the traditional arguments of the theories
of jurisprudence, of absolute and relative justice, of
intimidation, utility, and the like.

No doubt the principle that punishment ought to
have a reforming effect upon the criminal survives as
a rudimentary organ in nearly all the schools which
concern themselves with crime. But this is only a
secondary principle, and as it were the indirect object
of punishment ; and besides, the observations of
anthropology, psychology, and criminal statistics have
finally disposed of it, having established the fact that,
under any system of punishment, with the most severe
or the most indulgent methods, there are always cer-
tain types of criminals, representing a large number
of individuals, in regard to whom amendment is simply
impossible, or very transitory, on account of their
organic and moral degeneration. Nor must we for-
get that, since the natural roots of crime spring not
only from the individual organism, but also, in large
measure, from its physical and social environment,


correction of the individual is not sufficient to pre-
vent relapse if we do not also, to the best of our
ability, reform the social environment. The utility
and the duty of reformation none the less survive,
even for the positive school, whenever it is possible,
and for certain classes of criminals ; but, as a funda-
mental principle of a scientific theory, it has passed

Hitherto, then, the classical school stands alone,
with varying shades of opinion, but one and distinct
as a method, and as a body of principles and conse-
quences. And whilst it has achieved its aim in the
most recent penal codes, with a great, and too fre-
quently an excessive diminution of punishments, so
in respect of theory, in Italy, Germany, and France,
it has crowned its work with a series of masterpieces,
amongst which I will only mention Carrara's " Pro-
gramme of Criminal Law." As the author tells us in
one of his later editions, from the a priori principle
that "crime is a fact dependent upon law, an infrac-
tion rather than an action," he deduced and that by
the sheer force of an admirable logic a complete
symmetrical scheme of legal and abstract conse-
quences, wherein judges are compelled, whether they
like it or not, to determine the position of every
criminal who comes before them.

But now the classical school, which sprang from the
marvellous little work of Beccaria, has completed its
historic cycle. It has yielded all it could, and writers
of the present day who still cling to it can only re-
cast the old material. The youngest of them, indeed,
are condemned to a sort of Byzantine discussion of


scholastic formulas, and to a sterile process of scientific

And meantime, outside our universities and
academies, criminality continues to grow, and the
punishments hitherto inflicted, though they can neither
protect nor indemnify the honest, succeed in corrupting
and degrading evil-doers. And whilst our treatises
and codes (which are too often mere treatises cut up
into segments) lose themselves in the fog of their
legal abstractions, we feel more strongly every day,
in police courts and at assizes, the necessity for
those biological and sociological studies of crime and
criminals which, when logically directed, can throw
light as nothing else can upon the administration of
the penal law.


THE experimental school of criminal sociology took
its original title from its studies of anthropology ; it is
still commonly regarded as little more than a "criminal
anthropology school." And though this title no longer
corresponds with the development of the school, which
also takes into account and investigates the data of
psychology, statistics, and sociology, it is none the less
true that the most characteristic impetus of the new
scientific movement was due to anthropological studies.
This was conspicuously the case when Lombroso,
giving a scientific form to sundry scattered and frag-
mentary observations upon criminals, added fresh life
to them by a collection of inquiries which were not
only original but also governed by a distinct idea, and
established the new science of criminal anthropology.
It is possible, of course, to discover a very early
origin for criminal anthropology, as for general
anthropology ; for, as Pascal said, man has always
been the most wonderful object of study to himself.
For observations on physiognomy in particular we
may go as far backwards as to Plato, and his com-
parisons of the human face and character with those


of the brutes, or even to Aristotle, who still earlier
observed the physical and psychological correspon-
dence between the passions of men and their facial
expression. And after the mediaeval gropings in
chiromancy, metoscopy, podomancy and so forth,
one comes to the seventeenth century studies in
physiognomy by the Jesuit Niquetius, by Cortes,
Cardanus, De la Chambre, Delia Porta, &c., who
were precursors of Gall, Spurzheim, and Lavater on
one side, and, on the other, of the modern scientific
study of the emotions, with their expression in face
and gesture, conducted by Camper, Bell, Engel,
Burgess, Duchenne, Gratiolet, Piderit, Mantegazza,
Schaffhausen, Schack, Heiment, and above all by

With regard to the special observation of criminal,
over and above the limited statements of the old
physiognomists and phrenologists, Lauvergne (1841)
in France and Attomyr (1842) in Germany had
accurately applied the theories of Gall to the examin-
ation of convicts ; and their works, in spite of certain
exaggerations of phrenology, are still a valuable
treasury of observations in anthropology. In Italy,
De Rolandis (1835) had published his observations
on a deceased criminal ; in America, Sampson (1846)
had traced the connection, between criminality and
cerebral organisation ; in Germany, Camper (1854)
published a study on the physiognomy of mur-
derers ; and Ave Lallemant (1858-62) produced a
long work on criminals, from the psychological point
of view.

But the science of criminal anthropology, more



strictly speaking, only begins with the observations
of English gaol surgeons and other learned men, such
as Forbes Winslow (1854), Mayhew (1860), Thomson
(1870), Wilson (1870), Nicolson (1872), Maudsley
(1873), and with the very notable work of Despine
(1868), which indeed gave rise to the inquiries of
Thomson, and which, in spite of its lack of synthetic
treatment and systematic unity, is still, taken in
conjunction with the work of Ave Lallemant, the
most important inquiry in the psychological domain
anterior to the work of Lombroso.

Nevertheless, it was only with the first edition of
"The Criminal" (1876) that criminal anthropology
asserted itself as an independent science, distinct from
the main trunk of general anthropology, itself quite
recent in its origin, having come into existence with
the works of Daubenton, Blumenbach, Soemmering,
Camper, White, and Pritchard. ^

The work of Lombroso set out with two original I
faults : the mistake of having given undue importance,
at any rate apparently, to the data of craniology and
anthropometry, rather than to those of psychology ;
and, secondly, that of having mixed up, in the first
two editions, all criminals in a single class, i In later
editions these defects were eliminated, Lombroso
having adopted the observation which I made in the
first instance, as to the various anthropological cate-
gories of criminals. This does not prevent certain
critics of criminal anthropology from repeating, with
a strange monotony, the venerable objections as to
the "impossibility of distinguishing a criminal from

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Online LibraryEnrico FerriCriminal sociology [electronic resource] → online text (page 1 of 20)