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Crime and Its Causes   By: (1853-1943)

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CRIME AND ITS CAUSES

BY

WILLIAM DOUGLAS MORRISON

OF H.M. PRISON, WANDSWORTH

LONDON SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO., LIM. NEW YORK : CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

1902

OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.

"The science of criminology is pursued vigorously among the Italians, but this is one of the first English books to make the phenomena of crime the subject of a strictly scientific investigation." Daily Chronicle .

"The book is an important addition to the Social Science Series. It throws light upon some of the most complex problems with which society has to deal, and incidentally affords much interesting reading." Manchester Examiner .

"This is a work which, considering its limits and modest pretensions, it is difficult to over praise. It is a calm and thoughtful study by a writer in whom the deliberate determination to look on things as they are has not extinguished a reasoned faith in the possibility of their amelioration. The work is conceived throughout in a genuinely philosophical spirit." International Journal of Ethics .

"A thoughtful and thought suggesting book well worthy of consideration by penologists, whether specialists or amateurs." Annals of the American Academy .

"Mr. Morrison's book is especially valuable, because, without attempting to enforce this or that conclusion, it furnishes the authentic data on which all sound conclusions must be based." Times .

"Cramful of suggestive facts and solid arguments on the great questions how criminals are made, and how crime is best to be dealt with. Many cherished superstitions and fallacies are exploded in Mr. Morrison's pages." Star .

First Edition, February 1891 .

Second Edition, February 1902 .

CONTENTS.

CHAP.

I. THE STATISTICS OF CRIME

II. CLIMATE AND CRIME

III. THE SEASONS AND CRIME

IV. DESTITUTION AND CRIME

V. POVERTY AND CRIME

VI. SEX, AGE, AND CRIME

VII. THE CRIMINAL IN BODY AND MIND

VIII. THE PUNISHMENT OF CRIME

APPENDICES

PREFACE.

This volume, as its title indicates, is occupied with an examination of some of the principal causes of crime, and is designed as an introduction to the study of criminal questions in general. In spite of all the attention these questions have hitherto received and are now receiving, crime still remains one of the most perplexing and obstinate of social problems. It is much more formidable than pauperism, and almost as costly. A social system which has to try hundreds of thousands of offenders annually before the criminal courts is in a very imperfect condition; the causes which lead to this state of things deserve careful consideration from all who take an interest in social welfare.

In the following pages I have endeavoured to show that crime is a more complicated phenomenon than is generally supposed. When society will be able to stamp it out is a question it would be extremely hard to answer. If it ever does so, it will not be the work of one generation but of many, and it will not be effected by the application of any single specific.

Punishment alone will never succeed in putting an end to crime. Punishment will and does hold crime to a certain extent in check, but it will never transform the delinquent population into honest citizens, for the simple reason that it can only strike at the full fledged criminal and not at the causes which have made him so. Economic prosperity, however widely diffused, will not extinguish crime. Many people imagine that all the evils afflicting society spring from want, but this is only partially true. A small number of crimes are probably due to sheer lack of food, but it has to be borne in mind that crime would still remain an evil of enormous magnitude even if there were no such calamities as destitution and distress. As a matter of fact easy circumstances have less influence on conduct than is generally believed; prosperity generates criminal inclinations as well as adversity, and on the whole the rich are just as much addicted to crime as the poor... Continue reading book >>




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