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Three criminological theorists having a meal together, Beccaria, Durkheim and Lombroso waiting for their food to come, In front of them was a television broadcasting C.N.N, A view of death penalty in the United States, which apparently was in decline.
Durkheim: I believe there is a link to why death penalty is in decline with the American society
Beccaria: death penalty, BAH! How I despise it
Lombrosos: some how that is kind of an interesting concept, as for one. I did a few studies in my line of work. Well, although its only studies amongst individuals, but you know what I mean.
Beccaria: well overall, I don't mind though my views on death penalty, which I stress the words with utter "disgust".
Durkheim: In that case then, lets ease this discussion by talking about crime and punishment. Then before that, we may come to topic of death penalty.
Lombroso: Crime and punishments, hmmm interesting, from what I believe criminals who end up punished by their so called crimes are born that way. These individuals are just acting like animals. They are most definitely atavists, very primitive and inferior (Lombroso, 1911). So yet I rest my case, because punishments and death penalty it self should not only rid the criminals or "animals" out of the society, but provide a deep message to all offenders out there to stop what there doing, and follow the rules and laws of the society it self.
Beccaria: Couldn't agree more but some how controversial as well at my end
Durkheim: here here! Regardless of it being a biological fact, the environment plays a key role, no matter who, what, where, why and how the environment plays a key role.
Lombroso: yeah, but then again criminals are born that way no matter what, regardless of the environment, its definitely imprinted into their heads.
Durkheim: see there you are mistaken, as you said, it maybe true. But everything we do now is always affected by the environment.
Lombrosos : but yet again, everything we do is biological as well. I remember doing a study of a pair of twins. On how the environment may have a factor on how they would lead their lives. And yet regardless of it being environmental, everything we do is biological as well. Such as me speaking and you receiving, that my friend is biological. Us eating our meal in front of us, its biological.
Beccaria: Regardless of this being based on their criminal actions. I still believe punishments are acceptable in certain cases, but the death penalty on the other hand is considered barbaric and yet not usefull ( 2007 ccj 282)
Lombroso: it's a necessary ideal, the death penalty is to as I said early, to instill fear amongst the populace. Just to rid the animals out of our society once and for all.
Beccaria : DEATH! Is neither useful nor necessary, that's just condoning murder. Its inhumane.
Lombroso: YET! These criminals are not normal civilians. They're inhumane and animals themselves.
Beccaria: WHICH THEN beings me to my next point, â€¦.Motives
Durkheim: motives? What do you mean?
Beccaria: Oh come on, bloody hell gentlemen. It's so obvious. There are two possible motives for believing death penalty to criminals is necessary. Firstly, is the endangerment and the security of the nation. Secondly, a criminals existence would motivate other people to become criminals themselves. As what we call it nowadays
a role model.
Durkheim: Although, if I may addâ€¦.
Beccaria: let me finish.
Durkheim : Sorry, please do go on.
Beccaria: The adopted way in defending the laws is called punishment. In the mechanical society, the law is more oppressive. People who committed crime are to suffer a punishment. So to further your understand, punishment is a form of controlling the populace. So therefore, instead of having a death penalty there will always be other ways on dealing with a single or numerous criminals.
Lombroso: but they're animalsâ€¦.
Beccaria : which then can be controlled Lombroso, that's why we have the law , and the police. The best choice on not having crime is preventing crime, rather than punishing a criminal. (G.B. Vold et al, Theortical Criminology, pp 16-17).
Durkheim: wow good point, .are you finished? Ok from my point of view Crime is normal in society, because society does not have any clear delineation between unacceptable, criminal behaviours and those that are somewhat unacceptable, yet not criminal (Durkheim, 1895). Society will always identify some behaviour as being against its morals, so if there is a decrease in criminal behaviour, society will then move these behaviours from immoral to criminal.
Lombroso: and if there was no one engaging in immoral behaviour?
Durkheim: There will always be diversity in behaviour within a society. Conforming against this diversity is what develops a society's solidarity and superiority (Durkheim, 1895).
Durkheim: Okay then. Well, maybe if I was to explain my theory of the two different forms of societies, would that help you guys understand?!
Durkheim: Through my research of the processes of social change during industrialisation I described the more primitive society as "mechanical" and the more advanced society as "organic". Mechanical societies are characterised by the isolation of each social classes, high levels of self-reliance, little division of labour and individuals perform identical work, live in identical circumstances and believe in the same the values (Durkheim, 1893). Mechanical societies gain their solidarity from uniformity.
Beccaria: what about organic societies?
Durkheim: I use the term 'organic' to describe the other form of society. Organic societies, in contrast to mechanical societies, are highly dependent on different groups with that society and have a highly organised division of labour. Organic societies gain their solidarity from the diverse functions of the society and interdependence of the social groups (Durkheim, 1893).
Lombroso: How does this link to criminology? Crime, punishment and death penalty?
Durkheim: Crime is normal in a mechanical society otherwise the society would be pathologically over controlled (Durkheim, 1893). Punishments in a mechanical society serve the purpose of maintaining solidarity, superiority and the support of the average citizen for the social structure. Punishing those who commit crime, thus deviate from the social structure, are necessary to maintain the average citizens support, however, it will never prevent or eliminate crime. In an organic society, crime is normal as a breakdown of social norms, which I called anomie, produces a variety of negative social effects, including crime (Durkheim, 1893). Punishments in an organic society serve the purpose of restitution to those who suffer wrongful transactions, rather then repression of deviance.
Beccaria: Well I guess that we're all educated about crime and punishment, what goes over death penalty in the united states?
Durkheim: I wonder why it is in decline?
Lombroso: they should allow it, instead of having it in decline, whats wrong with these peopleâ€¦.animals need to be put down.
Beccaria: ALRIGHT Lombroso! Just imagine sentencing a juvenile delinquent to death like that simply for stealing chocolate from a store, or an young man jaywalking! AND without even a hearing in front of a judge!
Durkheim: I'm not so sure that was there intention.
Beccaria: The death penalty should never be imposed any one! At no point in the history of this planet as it stopped "determined men from injuring society" (Beccaria, 1767, p. 281).
Lombroso: Beccaria, some individuals on this planet are simply born criminals and we can not change that fact. So punishments are a key thing in order to remedy and rid these so called animals in order to maintain order, therefore, what else are we supposed to do with them?
Beccaria: oh Lombrosoâ€¦excessive punishments will only lead to increasing crime, rather then deterring or preventing it. These riots, which are criminal acts, are quite obviously a response against the excessive punishment handed to the young car thief. Punishments should be directly related to the seriousness of the crime, which should be determined by the harm it causes it society (Beccaria, 1764).
Lombroso: Well, not that you are probably very concerned with it, but my opinion is that punishments should separate born criminals and insane criminals from the rest of the society. Punishments should be reserved for those who committed crimes by choice (Lombroso, 1897). Beccaria, you were just saying that the punishment should fit the crime, I disagree. The punishment should fit the criminal, not the crime, hence, my distinction between born criminals and criminaloids.
Beccaria: you need to understand Lombroso Individuals sacrifice some of their liberties to the state with the social contract that punishments will applied to all criminals, keeping society safe (Beccaria, 1764). If punishments were not applied to all criminals, as you are advocating, then I believe that may strain the social contract.
Durkheim: yes Beccaria is right , Society expects punishments to be applied to criminals as a tool of reinforcing the superiority of non-criminals, resulting in a greater solidarity and a continued willingness to sacrifice liberties (Durkheim, 1893).
Lombroso: I cant stand more of this! I'll just have my meal delivered to me into my home. I bid you guys farewell, and hope I don't see you guys again!
Beccaria/Durkheim : Alright, seeya later. Hehehe