By Sir Leon Radzinowicz
Sir Leon Radzinowicz is likely one of the key figures within the improvement of criminology within the 20th century. This account of the improvement of criminology intertwines his own narrative as a criminologist with the development of criminology itself. His event received from a profession which has spanned 70 years because the Twenties, deals a profound evaluate of ways the knowledge of crime and criminals, of legal justice structures and penology has replaced, and of the tensions and dilemmas those pose for democratic societies.
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There was a lot he did not like in the cantonal criminal legislations across Switzerland and he did not hesitate to say so, but his criticisms were hardly ever fierce or hurting. Firmly believing in the value of having a diversity of penal views, he was ready to compromise and anxious to avoid controversial issues unless their resolution was absolutely vital for an effective control of crime. And he had no illusions that a successful construction of a revised and unified code commanding general approbation would prove to be a painful and exhausting exercise requiring much endurance as well as patience.
When a criminal who had undergone several sentences committed a new offence within the period of five years following the expiration of the last punishment, and when the court was ‘convinced of the ineffectiveness of the ordinary penalty to prevent further crimes’, it could, after having passed sentence, but before ordering the enforcement of the penalty, hand the criminal over to a Federal Commission which would be responsible for determining whether, in this case, a special measure of internment should be imposed.
Indeed, in some ways, he was too indifferent or even condescending, but he was certainly justified in feeling scornful when 18 AT THE CREATION the eminent philosopher Giovanni Gentile castigated the positivists with the gibe that ‘the delinquent of Lombroso is not a delinquent, but the body of a delinquent’. ’ Gerard Anton van Hamel put it as a heading to his paper written in honour of Lombroso and the aphorism made a tour du monde. The demise of criminological positivism To dislodge a philosophy and a doctrine as meaningful and so masterly communicated as the classical doctrine, to challenge the credibility of the major criminal codes of the period which were so firmly entrenched in the political culture, was a truly formidable undertaking.