Front Page Titles (by Subject) Criminology & Rationales for Punishment - Literature of Liberty, Winter 1981, vol. 4, No. 4
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Criminology & Rationales for Punishment - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Winter 1981, vol. 4, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Criminology & Rationales for Punishment
“Criminology: The Birth of a Special savoir: Transformations in Penal Theory and New Sources of Right in the Late Nineteenth Century.” I&C (Ideology and Consciousness; England) No. 7 (Autumn 1980): 17–32.
The nineteenth century witnessed a profound transformation in defenses of punishment, in notions of criminology, and in jurisprudence relating to the debate over criminal anthropology. Focusing on the strange shifts in the history of ideas concerning rationales for punishment and conceptualizations of “the criminal,” Pasquino lays bare the often arbitrary and ideological justifications of penal theory. In tracing these roots of modern criminology, he reveals how nineteenth-century social and intellectual transformations gave birth to a human “science” of criminality erected on the slogan of “social defense.”
During the 1870s and 1880s, the classical theory of penal law, whose roots lay in Beccaria's and Benthamite liberal utilitarianism, was overturned by the “social school” of criminologists, which included such figures as Enrico Ferri and von Liszt, the mentor of the Young German School of Criminal Psychologists. For classical theory penal justice applied to all men and revolved around the concepts of law, crime, and punishment. Since classical theory maintained a universal theory of human nature and free will, no separate species of “criminal man” (homo criminalis) existed in its system. Anyone can commit a crime through an accident of will. Such temporary deviation would label the offender homo penalis: while remaining a man he might be subject to a utilitarian calculus of punishments intended to deter him and others from further crimes. Punishment and intimidation served to maintain a contractual society of free and equal individuals and did so through a liberal conception of law as the “constitution of liberty.” A transgressor remained a member of human society and humanity, but one who required the therapy of punishment.
The new social school of criminology no longer considered the transgressor a human; he became a separate pathological species, homo criminalis. No longer studying the legal transgressor as part of a general anthropology of human action, the new “science” of punishment went beyond the remedy of deterrence to “neutralization” and liquidation of this evolutionary throwback and freak, the “criminal.” The newly conceptualized “criminal” lacked free will and required a special class of psychological and legal “experts” with a special “knowledge” appropriate for such an exotic specimen. The new “science” also reconceptualized society, diverging from the earlier liberal and laissez-faire interpretation of society as the contract of free individuals under the rule of law. Society shifted from the free union of voluntary subjects protecting themselves by law to a mystical and primary amalgam, considered as a complex of conflicts and interest. Society is no longer “nature” but organic community, Gemeinschaft. It exists prior to and superior to its members.
The new social school melded into its notion of the criminal earlier marginal and problematic beings (the monster, the incorrigible child, perverts, homosexuals, prostitutes, and the common poor). The new “experts” carved out a niche for their new savoir, establishing a novel pedagogy for criminologists, explaining the socio-psychological causes of crime, and recommending legislative “social hygiene” to deal with “anti-social” acts and species.