Schools of Criminology

5417 Words Apr 3rd, 2012 22 Pages
Introduction
Ever since the dawn of human civilization, crime has been a baffling problem. There is hardly any society which is not beset with the problem of crime. Dr. Heinrich Oppenheimer in his book ‘Rationale of Punishment’ says that a crimeless society is a myth. Commenting on this aspect, Emile Durkheim says, “a society composed of persons with angelic qualities would not be free from violations of the norms of that society”. In fact, crime is a dynamic concept changing with social transformation and evolution of the human society .

Primitive societies did not recognize the distinction between the law of torts and crime but only knew the law of wrongs. The early English societies during 12th and the 13th century included only those
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Worships, sacrifices and ordeals by water and fire were usually prescribed to specify the spirit and relieve the victim from its evil influence. An ordeal is an ancient manner of trial in criminal cases. When an offender pleaded not guilty, he might choose whether he would put himself for trial upon God and the country, by men or upon God only, and then it was called ‘the judgment of God’, presuming that God would deliver the innocent. Examples of such ordeals are, throwing into fire, throwing into water after tying a stone to his neck, administration of oath by calling up God‘s wrath, trial by battle, etc. Trial by battle was common mode of deciding the fate of criminal. The oaths and ordeals played a very important role in the ancient judicial system in determining the guilt of the offender. The justification advanced for these rituals was the familiar belief that when the human agency fails, recourse to divine means of proof becomes most inevitable. Though these practices appear to be most irrational and barbarous to the modern mind, they were universally accepted and were in existence in most Christian countries till thirteenth century. The Roman law completely ignored the system of ordeals and it was forbidden in Quran.

The right of society to punish the offender was, however, well recognized. The offender was regarded as an innately depraved person who could be cured only by torture and pain. The…