Definition of Criminal Justice and Criminology

In this paper I hope to explore the concept of the comparisons of the two different fields of criminal justice and criminology, and learn more about it myself. I plan to explore the history of both, and compare them primarily by that. Criminology as defined by Webster’s is the scientific study of crime and criminal behavior and law enforcement. The textbook defines criminal justice as the law of criminal procedure, and the array of procedures and activities having to do with the enforcement of this body of law. As anyone can tell you, crime has been along for as long as society has been.

As long as there is an organized group of people such as a society or culture or anything, there will always be criminals. However, the study of crime truly didn’t even occur to people until the late 18th century. Crime was ignorantly just explained as the actions of sinners. After a very long time, scholars somehow distinguished the two from each other and began to explain crime; this created the scientific study of crime and began the era of classical criminology. That was the first of three separate but all important phases. The second phase began at some point in the 19th century is very frequently referred to as modern criminology.

In this period, among the disciplines emerging as psychology, sociology, and economics, criminology really set itself apart as a subspecialty. The criminologists responsible for all of this began actually developing tests instead of depending on speculation and started to create theories with a much wider range. The third phase emerged more in the second half of the 20th century and has been best referenced as independent criminology. This is for a very good reason, as criminologists, whether purposefully or not, were able to set their discipline apart from the traditional ones that spawned it.

Criminologists have developed more extensive programs across colleges and universities, hoping to understand crime more than study it. (Lynch, 1993) says “the issues of crime and punishment have aroused interest and discussion since ancient times. ” He further states just how far back these things go, such as 10th century BC scriptures prohibit certain actions and lay out punishments. He also states how Christianity attempted to guide punishment and tended to speak against capital punishment, however in the middle ages where the punishments were especially brutal, the church did have an influence.

Modern criminology was expanding from clasical, and many trace it back to three men of its Italian school of thought by the names of Cesare Lombroso, Enrico Ferri, and Raffaele Garofalo. However Lombroso is considered by many to be the founding father of modern criminology, and has had more written about him than any other criminologist (Wolfgang,1961) . The Criminal Man, Lombroso’s most important work, he taught of atavism, a reversion to a more primitive state of mind and how it was cause and the effect was a propensity towards crime.

He also taught how a propensity towards crime could be seen in physical characteristics, not that they caused crime but they revealed the propensity. Now in the mid 20th century, independent criminology had begun to take root and set iself apart from the modern schools of thought. There were institutions already in existence such as the American Society of Criminology, these began to grow and prosper and new instittutions such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences were able to form along with a number of journals of criminology. This happened due to an increase in government funding.

Criminal Justice has been around as long as crime, if a criminal act is committed, there must be a punishment, this exists throughout nature and all societies. In most cases, even criminal organizations have a punishment system, such as a memer wrongs another member, they could be killed or expelled from the organization. Many believe the story of Cain and Able to be the very first example of crime and punishment. “Whether the Genesis account of Cain and Able is accepted as historical fact or allegory, the principle of retributive justice is as old as recorded history.

” (Sterling,1999) This relates to before the first phase of criminology, because up until then, punishments and explanations for crime were based on the bible, and from a criminal justice perspective, that’s not a very good thing. The textbook established the ideas of mens rea which is a guilty mind and actus reas which is a guilty act,and that it takes the both of them as components of crime and (Sterling,1999) states around what time this originated in english common law and how long it was faithfully used even up into modern American law.

He also states how the American Jurisprudence has slowly been moving away from requiring those two components of crime. The reasons being that efforts were made to make the criminal justice system more uniform and predictable, to marginalize the element of intent. To compare the two fields of criminal justice and criminology is a mixed bag, they are so different but very similar. After all, criminology seeks to understand crime whereas criminal justice seeks to punish offenders. However, they both seek to protect society in their own separate ways and take a person of integrity to do each job to the best of their ability.

Honestly, until I began the research of criminology, I had not even a basic clue as to what criminology meant. But I’ve seen how important criminology is to society.

  • Lynch, J. (1993). Criminology. Retrieved from https://autocww2. colorado. edu/~toldy3/E64ContentFiles/LawAndCourts/Criminology. html
  • terling, J. (1999). Concepts of justice past and present. Retrieved from http://www. lawandliberty. org/justice. htm
  • Wolfgang, M. (1961, November). Pioneers in criminology: Cesare lombroso. Retrieved from http://www. jstor. org/discover/10. 2307/1141263? uid=2&uid=4&sid=21101705019533.