Dialogue Between Beccaria, Lombroso, Durkheim

Topics: Criminology, Crime, Sociology Pages: 7 (2175 words) Published: May 7, 2012
CCJ27 – Sociology of Crime|
Dialogue: Beccaria, Lombroso, and Durkheim
Assignment #1 - EssayName: Larissa MylonasOUA Student ID: 267240Griffith Student ID: S2711917Due Date: 04th October 2010; 4:00pmWORD LENGTH: 1955 words| |

Between Beccaria, Lombroso, and Durkheim


Three (3) theorists at an undisclosed location; take part in a private book club meeting in which the following four articles are discussed: * “On Crimes and Punishments” by Cesare Beccaria;
* “Criminal Man” by Cesare Lombroso;
* “The Normal and the Pathological” & “Suicide” by Emile Durkheim. During the book club meeting, a debate arises over the participant’s views and opinions of crime and punishment; in particular, the use of capital punishment (the death penalty) in the United States of America. Below is the dialogue from the book club meeting.

Beccaria: Welcome all.
Lombroso: Let’s just get this over with.
Beccaria: How about we begin by introducing ourselves.
Beccaria: I’ll go first. My name is Cesare Beccaria; you may refer to me as Beccaria. I was born in 1738, and am the author of many books. In relation to today’s book club meeting, I will be discussing the content of On Crimes and Punishments which I wrote in 1764. Lombroso, would you like to go next? Lombroso: Fine, if we must. My name is Cesare Lombroso; I was born in 1835 and as you have already done, may refer to me as Lombroso. I too have written quite a few books; one of which, Criminal Man, is in our book clubs reading list. Durkheim: My name is Emile Durkheim, and I’m happy for you both to call me Durkheim. I was born in 1858. I too am a writer, and the books that I’ve written that we will be addressing today are Rules of the Sociological Method written in 1895 and Suicide, that I wrote two years later (1897). Beccaria: Ok then, now that that’s out of the way, I hereby open this book club meeting. As the invitation stated we are here to discuss our views and opinions of crime and punishment, in particular the use of capital punishment. Beccaria: I personally believe that deterrence is the only means of crime prevention. Crime should be viewed as something that needs preventing. I strongly feel my classical approach of using deterrence is the only feasible way. Durkheim: Crime is normal (Durkheim 1895/1994). It is needed for society to ever move forward. Beccaria: The only thing crime is, is a menace to society. In no way is crime beneficial to society. Durkheim: Crime is useful, in that it helps develop change in social morality and reforms in law. It is also the key to society’s progress. In order to make progress, individual originality must be able to express itself... [Even] the originality of the criminal... shall also be possible (Durkheim 1895). Beccaria: Crime needs to be stopped! And it is to the common interest not only that crimes not be committed, but also that they be less frequent in proportion to the harm they cause society (Beccaria 1767/1994). Therefore, the obstacles that deter men from committing crimes should be stronger in proportion, as the inducements to commit crime are stronger. There must, therefore, “be a proper proportion between crimes and punishments” (Beccaria 1767/1994, p. 284). Beccaria: Taking away criminals’ liberty through prompt incarceration will deter other would-be criminals not to commit similar crimes, and will also prevent the perpetrator from recommitting the crime again (Beccaria 1764/1994). As a result, crime is then preventable. Durkheim: A society without crime is impossible (Durkheim 1895/1994). Durkheim: For crime to not exist, every person would have to have the same sentiments on everything, to the same degree and intensity (Durkheim 1893/1994). Beccaria: This may be so. However, you appear to be saying that we shouldn’t even be trying to stop crime. Durkheim: Well I’m sorry Beccaria, but if everyone agreed and believed the same things then, “crime...
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