Conformity versus crime


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Abstract

Argues that many factors in modern civilization tend towards an increasingly varied humanity, and at the same time, increased difficulty in securing conformity and stability of custom. Still the word society denotes some conformity to custom, and social reaction in some sort against departures therefrom. Punishment is essentially a state of mind in the punisher, which has long lost status in scientific penology. Unpleasant consequence upon a certain act is still among the best of negative conditionings. Its uncertainty, promptness and intensity are important in the order named; if it were well with the two first, the last would not err in leniency. Yet such is the capriciousness of our criminal justice, that one hears psychiatric care urged for an offender, as a better guaranty of segregation than a judicial sentence. “Every society has the criminals it deserves”, and in a sense, those that it desires. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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