The Crime and the Criminal

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What one group considers a crime may cause or ignite war or conflict. However, the earliest known civilizations had codes of law , containing both civil and penal rules mixed together, though not always in recorded form.

The Sumerians produced the earliest surviving written codes. The Sumerians later issued other codes, including the "code of Lipit-Ishtar ". This code, from the 20th century BCE, contains some fifty articles, and scholars have reconstructed it by comparing several sources. The Sumerian was deeply conscious of his personal rights and resented any encroachment on them, whether by his King, his superior, or his equal. No wonder that the Sumerians were the first to compile laws and law codes. Successive legal codes in Babylon , including the code of Hammurabi c.

Sir Henry Maine studied the ancient codes available in his day, and failed to find any criminal law in the "modern" sense of the word. While modern systems distinguish between offences against the "State" or "community", and offences against the "individual", the so-called penal law of ancient communities did not deal with "crimes" Latin: crimina , but with "wrongs" Latin: delicta.

Thus the Hellenic laws [23] treated all forms of theft , assault , rape , and murder as private wrongs, and left action for enforcement up to the victims or their survivors.

The earliest systems seem to have lacked formal courts. The Romans systematized law and applied their system across the Roman Empire. Again, the initial rules of Roman law regarded assaults as a matter of private compensation. The most significant Roman law concept involved dominion. The Commentaries of Gaius written between and AD on the Twelve Tables treated furtum in modern parlance: "theft" as a tort.

Similarly, assault and violent robbery involved trespass as to the pater's property so, for example, the rape of a slave could become the subject of compensation to the pater as having trespassed on his "property" , and breach of such laws created a vinculum juris an obligation of law that only the payment of monetary compensation modern " damages " could discharge.

Similarly, the consolidated Teutonic laws of the Germanic tribes , [25] included a complex system of monetary compensations for what courts would now [update] consider the complete [ citation needed ] range of criminal offences against the person, from murder down. This idea came from common law , and the earliest conception of a criminal act involved events of such major significance that the "State" had to usurp the usual functions of the civil tribunals, and direct a special law or privilegium against the perpetrator.

All the earliest English criminal trials involved wholly extraordinary and arbitrary courts without any settled law to apply, whereas the civil delictual law operated in a highly developed and consistent manner except where a king wanted to raise money by selling a new form of writ. The development of the idea that the "State" dispenses justice in a court only emerges in parallel with or after the emergence of the concept of sovereignty.

In continental Europe, Roman law persisted, but with a stronger influence from the Christian Church. The people decided the cases usually with largest freeholders dominating.

European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics - Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

This system later gradually developed into a system with a royal judge nominating a number of the most esteemed men of the parish as his board, fulfilling the function of "the people" of yore. From the Hellenic system onwards, the policy rationale for requiring the payment of monetary compensation for wrongs committed has involved the avoidance of feuding between clans and families. On the other hand, the institution of oaths also played down the threat of feudal warfare.

Both in archaic Greece and in medieval Scandinavia , an accused person walked free if he could get a sufficient number of male relatives to swear him not guilty. Compare the United Nations Security Council , in which the veto power of the permanent members ensures that the organization does not become involved in crises where it could not enforce its decisions. These means of restraining private feuds did not always work, and sometimes prevented the fulfillment of justice.

But in the earliest times the "state" did not always provide an independent policing force. Thus criminal law grew out of what 21st-century lawyers would call torts; and, in real terms, many acts and omissions classified as crimes actually overlap with civil-law concepts. The development of sociological thought from the 19th century onwards prompted some fresh views on crime and criminality, and fostered the beginnings of criminology as a study of crime in society. In the 20th century Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish made a study of criminalization as a coercive method of state control.

Researchers and commentators have classified crimes into the following categories, in addition to those above:. One can categorise crimes depending on the related punishment, with sentencing tariffs prescribed in line with the perceived seriousness of the offence. Thus fines and noncustodial sentences may address the crimes seen as least serious, with lengthy imprisonment or in some jurisdictions capital punishment reserved for the most serious.

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Under the common law of England, crimes were classified as either treason , felony or misdemeanour , with treason sometimes being included with the felonies. This system was based on the perceived seriousness of the offence. It is still used in the United States but the distinction between felony and misdemeanour is abolished in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

The following classes of offence are based on mode of trial :. In common law countries, crimes may be categorised into common law offences and statutory offences. In the US, Australia and Canada in particular , they are divided into federal crimes and under state crimes. These are further categorized as violent or property crimes. All other crimes count come under Part II. For convenience, such lists usually include infractions although, in the U. Compare tortfeasance.

Booking arrests require detention for a time-frame ranging 1 to 24 hours. There are several national and International organizations offering studies and statistics about global and local crime activity, such as United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime , the United States of America Overseas Security Advisory Council OSAC safety report or national reports generated by the law-enforcement authorities of EU state member reported to the Europol. In England and Wales, as well as in Hong Kong, the term "offence" means the same thing as, and is interchangeable with, the term " crime ", [11] They are further split into:.

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Many different causes and correlates of crime have been proposed with varying degree of empirical support. They include socioeconomic, psychological, biological, and behavioral factors. Controversial topics include media violence research and effects of gun politics. Emotional state both chronic and current have a tremendous impact on individual thought processes and, as a result, can be linked to criminal activities.

Differences Between Civil and Criminal Cases

The positive psychology concept of Broaden and Build posits that cognitive functioning expands when an individual is in a good-feeling emotional state and contracts as emotional state declines. The narrowed thought-action repertoires can result in the only paths perceptible to an individual being ones they would never use if they saw an alternative, but if they can't conceive of the alternatives that carry less risk they will choose one that they can see.

Criminals who commit even the most horrendous of crimes, such as mass murders, did not see another solution. Crimes defined by treaty as crimes against international law include:. From the point of view of state-centric law, extraordinary procedures usually international courts may prosecute such crimes. Different religious traditions may promote distinct norms of behaviour, and these in turn may clash or harmonise with the perceived interests of a state. Socially accepted or imposed religious morality has influenced secular jurisdictions on issues that may otherwise concern only an individual's conscience.


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Activities sometimes criminalized on religious grounds include for example alcohol consumption prohibition , abortion and stem-cell research. In various historical and present-day societies, institutionalized religions have established systems of earthly justice that punish crimes against the divine will and against specific devotional, organizational and other rules under specific codes, such as Roman Catholic canon law.

In the military sphere, authorities can prosecute both regular crimes and specific acts such as mutiny or desertion under martial-law codes that either supplant or extend civil codes in times of for example war. Many constitutions contain provisions to curtail freedoms and criminalize otherwise tolerated behaviors under a state of emergency in the event of war, natural disaster or civil unrest. Undesired activities at such times may include assembly in the streets, violation of curfew , or possession of firearms.

Two common types of employee crime exist: embezzlement and wage theft. The complexity and anonymity of computer systems may help criminal employees camouflage their operations. The victims of the most costly scams include banks, brokerage houses, insurance companies, and other large financial institutions.

In a survey it was found that as many as one-third of low wage male foreign workers in Singapore, or about ,, were affected by wage theft from partial to full denial of pay.

Property Crimes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Crime disambiguation. For other uses, see Criminal disambiguation. For the film, see Offender film. Types of crime. Chicago school Classical school Conflict criminology Critical criminology Environmental criminology Feminist school Integrative criminology Italian school Left realism Marxist criminology Neo-classical school Positivist school Postmodernist school Right realism.

Index Journals Organizations People. Main article: Criminalization. Main article: Causes and correlates of crime. Main article: International criminal law.

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