: English for Law Students. 2 year. Part 2 - ( ..)


: 1775

Unit 2 classical criminology


A1. Read these statements and discuss them in pairs to see whether you agree or not. Prove your point of view.

1. The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all the other woes of mankind, is wisdom.

Thomas Huxley

2. Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.

Oscar Wilde


B1. Study and memorize the new words and expressions.

Key Vocabulary

emphasize1) ;

penitence1) ; 2)

salvation , ( )

brutal , ,

condemn ,

torture, | ,

degrading, ;


penology ,

deterrent -, ( )

deter , ,

utility; excessive, groundwork, ( . )

deterrence ,


B2. Read the text and be ready to answer the questions below

Classical criminology

Christian thought tended to emphasize personal responsibility for wrongdoing, requiring penitence (remorse) by the criminal in exchange for salvation, or forgiveness, by God.

Punishment practices during the Middle Ages were often brutal, and it was not until the

18th century that penal policy was subject to systematic consideration. Authors began to condemn the frequent use of torture, imposition of capital punishment and other brutal and degrading sanctions.

The Classical School of thought, which developed in the mid 18th century, came about at a time when major reforms in penology occurred, with prisons developed as a form of punishment. In 1764 Italian jurist Marchese di Beccaria published Tratto dei delitti e delle pene ( translated as Essays on Crimes and Punishments) where he criticized the use of torture and secret judicial proceedings and advocated abolition of the death penalty. He also argued that the certainty rather than the severity - of punishment was a more effective deterrent to crime. Beccaria thought that penalties imposed for criminal offenses should be in proportion to the seriousness of the offense.

Around this same time, British philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed the systematic codification of criminal law. Bentham urged lawmakers to base crimes and punishments on the principle of utility that is, the greatest good for the greatest number. Bentham posited that man is a calculating animal who will weigh potential benefits against the pain which is likely to be imposed. If the pain outweighs the gains, he will be deterred, and this produces maximal social utility. He also attacked the excessive severity of punishments prescribed in the criminal law. Many of Bentham's ideas were introduced as legislation into the British Parliament, and his efforts laid the groundwork for substantial legal reform in the next generation.

The main points of the Classical criminology theory can be summarized as following:

(1) People have free will to choose how to act;

(2) Deterrence is based upon the notion of the human being as a 'hedonist' who seeks pleasure and avoids pain, and a 'rational calculator' weighing up the costs and benefits of the consequences of each action;

(3) Punishment can deter people from crime, as the costs (penalties) outweigh benefits, and that severity of punishment should be proportionate to the crime.

(4) The more swift and certain the punishment, the more effective it is in deterring criminal behavior.

The work of these 18th-century legal reformers did not produce an organized body of knowledge about why and when crime occurs. Rather, it served as the intellectual foundation for the field of criminology. Beccaria, Bentham, and those who followed them made crime and criminals a legitimate subject for scientific inquiry.

B3. Answer the questions:

1. Outline the major points of Beccarias views on torture, death penalty, and certainty of


2. Describe the Benthams principle of social utility.

3. What influence did Benthams ideas have on British legislation?

4. Describe the results of 18th century legal reforms.


C1. Work in pairs or in small groups. Think of as many synonyms for the following words as you can. Write them in the box. Compare your ideas with the others in your group. Add new ideas to your list.





C2. Check your ideas with ex. C5. Re-write the following sentence using the synonyms. Note if all the synonyms can be used. Write three-four sentences.

Christian philosophers expressed in their writings that the legitimate purpose of

punishment was to reform and salvage the erring sinner.

C3. Use one of the following words to complete the sentences below

penitence penitent penitentiary deter deterrence deterrent condemn condemnation condemnatory condemned

1) Phil was trying hard to look .

2) The murderer served 10 years at the

in Stillwater.

3) They may be afraid of losing face or losing respect of others if they show over what they have done.

4) The state allows no communication with a


5) The move was greeted with widespread international .

6) The role of the press is rarely official efforts to solve crime.

7) She knew that society would

of the police and usually supportive of the

her for leaving her children.

8) Experts do not agree about whether the death penalty acts as a .

9) Pakistan will maintain nuclear

10) The security camera was installed to

at all costs.

people from stealing.

C4. Read the text below and find the expressions in bold type. Explain their meanings in other words. Translate the text.

Penology comprises penitentiary science: that concerned with the processes devised and adopted for the punishment, repression, and prevention of crime, and the treatment of prisoners. Contemporary penology concerns itself mainly with prison management and criminal rehabilitation.

This theory of punishment is based on the notion that punishment is to be inflicted on offenders so as to reform them, or rehabilitate them so as to make their re-integration into society easier. Punishments that are in accordance with this theory are community service, probation orders, and those which entail guidance and aftercare of the offender.

This theory is founded on the belief that one cannot inflict a severe punishment of imprisonment and expect the offender to be reformed and able to re-integrate into society upon release. Although the importance of inflicting punishment on those persons who breach the law, so as to maintain social order, is retained, the importance of rehabilitation is also given priority.

Penology concerns many topics and theories, including those concerning prisons (Prison reform, Prisoner abuse, Prisoners' rights, and Recidivism), as well as theories of the purposes of punishment (such as Deterrence, Rehabilitation, Retribution, and Utilitarianism).

C5. Synonyms:

purpose (noun): intention, design, intendment, intent, meaning, plan, destination, direction; aim, goal, mission, objective, point; ambition, aspiration; proposal, proposition punishment (noun): correction, discipline, punition, rod, fine, penalty; avengement, revenge

salvage (verb): salve, deliver, redeem, rescue, save;

reform (verb): amend, correct, improve, reconstruct, rebuild, rehabilitate, renovate, repair, transform


E1. Read the text and make up 5 questions to it. Put them to your groupmates.

Medieval crime and punishment

During the Middle Ages, crimes were very common. This was caused because of

impunity* among other reasons which caused burglars and thieves exert more frequently their activities. Of course, education also played a primary role in this as most burglars had no education at all and thus; instead of working they would simply resort to steal.

Punishment for thieves varied greatly. Medieval torture was used mostly even if the thief only stole bread to feed himself. Of course death to thieves very rarely happened and they were just publicly tortured. However there were different punishments for different crimes. Unfaithful wives were considered to be criminals and they would be treated accordingly. Witches were considered to be criminals as well and heresy was one of the greatest crimes. Imprisonment happened very frequently and sometimes inside a prison there were torture chambers to further teach people that crimes were not good.

Kidnapping was very frequent during the Dark Ages. This was mostly done by foreign invaders who needed kids to work their own lands. Landlords who lacked enough workers, frequently resorted to kidnapping kids in order to populate their own villages. Punishment for these crimes were of a very high magnitude and if the kid was part of the royalty, the offender would be heavily tortured and executed in a public plaza. Most crimes did occur to merchants. Even when merchants traveled together, they were still in danger of a large group of enemies to attack and rob them. Most kingdoms were skeptic about this and imposed heavy penalties to captured thieves. This led to much Medieval Folklore including the legend of Robin Hood among others.

It was during the Inquisition when criminals were heavily tortured. The most common ways to torture or execute criminals during the Inquisition was by burning at the stake using the wheel torture, using head vice torture among others. This, of course, helped combat criminals because during the Earlier Medieval Times, when there was much impunity, more crimes took place. Later on, when fear was inspired in the average peasant, crimes lowered considerably.

Crimes were, for the most part, done by the poor. Nevertheless, there are records of nobles and knights being hanged for robbing. Rape was not considered a major offense because women had not as many rights as men. Nevertheless, it was a crime to marry a relative as it was strictly forbidden by the church.


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