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Cesare Lombroso

Cesare Lombroso, (1835-1909), was an Italian anthropologist and criminologist. Lombroso was one of the pioneers of the study of human criminal delinquency, but his work was hampered by the received ideas of social Darwinism that were current in his day.

In 1876 Lombroso published L'Uomo delinquente, (Criminal Man), which he later expanded into a multi-volume work. Lombroso measured the shape and size of criminals' heads, and concluded that they displayed atavistic traits that were throwbacks to primitive man. In effect, what Lombroso had created was a new pseudoscience of forensic phrenology. Lombroso concluded that the criminals were born with inherited anti-social traits. His findings were the scientific basis for a wave of laws requiring forced sterilization of criminals and mental defectives in the early twentieth century.

Lombroso also advocated humane treatment for criminals. He argued for making rehabilitiation as the chief goal of penology, and against the routine employment of capital punishment.

External link

Cesare Lombroso at Brain and Mind (http://www.epub.org.br/cm/home_i.htm) Magazine: http://www.epub.org.br/cm/n01/frenolog/lombroso.htm

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