Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/769

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


CRIMINAL ANTHROPOLOGY IN ITALY. 747

aud unthinking expression that all criminals are mad, though every- day experience in the police courts puts it beyond doubt that many are actually deranged, but in the sense that both classes are in a similar pathological state, which manifests itself on the one hand in lunacy, on the other in crime. This position is rendered still stronger by the revelations of genealogical statistics, which reveal the heredity through long generations of criminal tendencies, as they do of insanity, and alternations of criminals and madmen, in the same or successive generations.

Lombroso divides criminals into two great classes, the original or born delinquent, and the fortuitous offender, a man who becomes criminal through outward influences.

The first, the synthesis of every degeneration, the outcome of all biological deterioration, commits crimes against society by virtue of a morbid process passing from one generation to another, derived from cerebral and other physiological conditions. In him the im- pulse of passion is not sullen or isolated, but associates itself almost always with reflection. The second, on the contrary, the crim- inal of passion and impetus, acts at a given moment in conse- quence of an overwhelming stimulus, say a sudden access of jealousy. The two classes frequently merge into each other, for the mere fact that a man, suddenly, without reflection, by a reflex act, as it were, stabs his offender or his unfaithful wife, proves that he is not normal. The want of reflection constitutes an extenuating circumstance be- fore judge or jury, but before pathological psychology, says Signor Sergi, " it constitutes an accusation."

The importance of the distinction is seen in the views taken on criminal jurisprudence by Lombroso and his school. It is generally said that to act logically in face of these views we should have to make extensive use of capital punishment. The most hasty perusal of Lombroso's books will show that this is not his view of the case. He lays immense stress on prevention, for even the morbid process may, he asserts, be modified in the very young, just as a disease, taken in time, may be cured, but, neglected, becomes chronic.

He examines carefully the means adopted in various countries for refining the minds of children, and speaks warmly of English ragged schools. Juvenile refinement, strict but judicious control, education in the highest sense of the word — these must be, he argues, the primary object of every nation which aims at decreasing its criminality. He also advocates an association between various na- tions for the hunting of criminals, and for making such observations on their lives and habits as shall lead to their easier classification. In reformatories he has small belief; statistics show that they in no way decrease the percentage of recidivists; the fact of recidivism shows

�� �