General Inntroduction To Forensic Psychology HTML version
moment that crime is a disease. But it does have natural causes,—
that is, circumstances which work to produce it in a given case.
And as to treatment, modern science recognizes that penal or
remedial treatment cannot possibly be indiscriminate and machine-
like, but must be adapted to the causes, and to the man as affected
by those causes. Common sense and logic alike require, inevitably,
that the moment we predicate a specific cause for an undesirable
effect, the remedial treatment must be specifically adapted to that
Thus the great truth of the present and the future, for criminal
science, is the individualization of penal treatment,—for that man,
and for the cause of that man's crime.
Now this truth opens up a vast field for re-examination. It means
that we must study all the possible data that can be causes of
crime,—the man's heredity, the man's physical and moral <p vii>
make-up, his emotional temperament, the surroundings of his
youth, his present home, and other conditions,—all the influencing
circumstances. And it means that the effect of different methods of
treatment, old or new, for different kinds of men and of causes,
must be studied, experimented, and compared. Only in this way
can accurate knowledge be reached, and new efficient measures be
All this has been going on in Europe for forty years past, and in
limited fields in this country. All the branches of science that can
help have been working,—anthropology, medicine, psychology,
economics, sociology, philanthropy, penology. The law alone has
abstained. The science of law is the one to be served by all this.
But the public in general and the legal profession in particular have
remained either ignorant of the entire subject or indifferent to the
entire scientific movement. And this ignorance or indifference has
blocked the way to progress in administration.