evaluation of lombroso's theory

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  • Evaluation of Lombroso's theory
    • positives
      • first person to provide criminology with scientific credibility
      • Charles Goring(1913) found a low-order intelligence in convicts, suggesting some genetic base to criminology
      • Several pieces of research suggest that less attractive individuals are more likely to be considered guilty
      • Lombroso challenged the idea that criminals are evil or that they choose to be criminal
      • Lombroso labelled prisons 'criminal universities' and suggested prisoners came out much worse than when they went in.
      • His work heralded the beginnings of offender profiling
    • negatives
      • lack of control group- so no comparisons can be made to the appearance of the wider society
      • Lack of accuracy due to possible disfigurement
      • Not everybody with atavistic features is a criminal, and not all criminals have them
      • Charles Goring(1913) used a non-criminal control group and found no significant differneces in terms of behaviour.
      • Scientific racism-DeLisi(2012) indicated that many of the atavistic features defined are specific to people of African descent
      • extremely deterministic and assumes that we cannot escape destiny.


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