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This article is written by Isha Tripathi, a student of B.A. LLB (Hons.) from NMIMS, School of Law, Bengaluru and is edited by Gitika Jain. This is an exhaustive article that initially conceptualizes the concept of criminology and discusses the theory and history of this field. Importance of this field as a separate branch has also been discussed in this article along with the future trends and evolution of criminology.


Criminology is an advancing field of study. With improvements and advancement in the overall general society, the nature and impacts of wrongdoing have additionally changed. Criminology is a type of field that needs to change its trends with the changing times and must evolve its hypotheses and its approaches, to make itself applicable to the justice delivery system. Whenever done accurately it would upgrade the viability of the strategies and would likewise open up new open doors for criminologists. If criminology doesn’t transform, it won’t have the option to get by with the time and would surrender to the headways. Here in this article, the author had gone forward to discuss different parts of criminology in detail and how it might be advanced to support itself in the coming future.

Concept of criminology

The word Criminology was originally formed by joining two ancient Greek words “krino” meaning accusation and “logos” meaning reason or study. Subsequently, on a bare understanding of the root words, we may agree that the term implies the “study of accusation.” Criminology is the scientific study of wrongdoing, including its causes, reactions by law implementation, and techniques for avoidance. It is a sub-gathering of sociology, which is the logical investigation of social conduct. There are numerous fields of study that are utilized in the field of criminology, including science, insights, brain research, psychiatry, financial matters, and human sciences. In 1885, an Italian law educator, Raffaele Garofalo, came up with the term criminology. However, during that time, it didn’t get the spotlight. During the underlying days of its initiation, it underlined the change of criminal law and not on the reasons for criminal offences. The principal coursebook which explicitly managed criminology was written in 1920 by the American humanist, Maurice Parmalee under the title “Criminology”, and with this, it advanced into the equity conveyance framework.

Just as criminology is a subgroup of sociology, criminology itself has several sub-groups which includes:

  • Penology: the study of prisons and prison systems.
  • Biocriminology: the study of the biological basis of criminal behavior.
  • Feminist criminology: the study of women and crime.
  • Criminalistics: the study of crime detection.

History and theories of criminology

There is a wide range of hypotheses of criminology that have been created all through the previous 250 years or thereabouts. Keeping in mind that some have dropped out of notoriety, some of them are still considered to be relevant today. The creation of criminology as a field of study can be followed as far back as the eighteenth century, when two social researchers, Cesare Beccaria in Italy and Jeremy Bentham in England, pushed the possibility that the punishment should be outrageous to the point that the criminal would reason that the enjoyment of the criminal demonstration would not merit the agony of the discipline. This was known as the old-style school of criminology. As of late as 1995, an adjudicator in California condemned a man to jail for taking a cut of pizza. The appointed authority expressed that his options were limited due to the three-strikes law, and the law would not permit the adjudicator to take a gander at the particular wrongdoing. This model follows the traditional school of criminology that was created more than 200 years back. During the mid-nineteenth century, criminologists began to contend that the old-style school of criminology didn’t separate between differing degrees of violations. These criminologists were known as the positivists. The positivists accepted that the discipline should fit the crook, not the wrongdoing.

Esare Lombroso, an Italian doctor, was a pioneer of the positivist hypothesis. He accepted that lawbreakers were conceived, not made, and that wrongdoing involved a nature, not support. He directed broad investigations on dead bodies of executed lawbreakers, thinking of the contention that specific facial highlights, for example, extremely enormous jawbones and solid canine teeth, were clear signs that an individual was or would be a crook. Notwithstanding, this hypothesis turned out to be less well known for moral reasons and for later speculations concentrating on natural factors that add to criminal conduct. 

During the late nineteenth century, criminologists started to consolidate science and measurements into their field of study. Hereditary qualities were utilized to decide if criminal conduct could be connected with one relative then onto the next, and measurements were utilized to consider populace and wrongdoing. In 1946, the Society for the Advancement of Criminology was made, which later turned into the American society of criminology an insightful and logical association planned for considering counteraction and reasons for wrongdoing and treatment of crooks.

Importance of criminology

There are several reasons that explain why criminology is important:

  • Reduction in crime: Criminology helps society understand, control, and reduce crime. Studying crime helps discover and analyse its causes, which can be used towards crime reduction policies and initiatives.
  • It helps understand the mindset of criminals: Criminology helps understand the mindset of criminals, why they commit crimes, and the factors that affect them. This helps in the proper allocation of resources to control crime.
  • Reform of criminals: As well as controlling and reducing crime, criminology can also suggest appropriate measures for the rehabilitation of criminals.

Criminology as a separate branch of study

Despite the tremendous promise and significant potential, Criminology as a subject in this nation is in a condition of avoidable disregard and apathy. The teaching of criminology at degree and post-degree level isn’t widely accessible as there are just not many organizations giving instructing, exploration, or practices in criminology. The circumstance has brought about numerous untoward results. For example, the scholastic openings and a wide system of academicians in criminology couldn’t develop in India. 

Criminology in India didn’t have the option to cultivate an obvious recipient base. Linkages among training and calling in criminology are dark and unexplored. Under being for the most part connected with their parent-teachers, the specialists who made admirable commitments to criminology stayed apathetic regarding the improvement of criminology in India. 

The essential explores in criminology India prompting the improvement of hypotheses clarifying the serious issues of culpability in this nation have been practically nonexistent. Nor do the criminologists, by and large, have had the option to endorse approaches and projects situated examination discoveries. Criminology in India likewise needed global concentration and acknowledgment. Joined together, criminology is to a great extent apparent as an order with confined roads and restricted vertical portability in professional success in India.

Evolution in the field of criminology 

Criminology developed in the late 18th century, when different developments, pervaded with philanthropy, questioned the brutality, discretion, and wastefulness of the criminal equity and jail frameworks. During this period, reformers, for example, Cesare Beccaria in Italy and Sir Samuel Romilly, John Howard, and Jeremy Bentham in England spoke to the alleged traditional school of criminology, looked for a penological and lawful change instead of criminological information. Their chief points were; to relieve lawful punishments, forcing judges to watch the rule of nulla poena sine lege, to decrease the utilization of the death penalty, and to adapt corrective organizations. They were decently fruitful, in any case, in their longing to make criminal equity progressively “just,” they attempted to build rather digestible and counterfeit conditions among wrongdoings and punishments, overlooking the individual qualities and necessities of the criminal respondent. Besides, the object of discipline was reprisal and optionally discouragement, with renewal lingering a long way behind.

In the mid 19th century, the primary yearly national wrongdoing measurements were distributed in France. Adolphe Quetelet (1796–1874), a Belgian mathematician, analyst, and humanist who was among the first to break down these insights discovered significant consistency in them (e.g., in the number of individuals blamed for violations every year, the number of sentences given, the proportion of men to women, and the circulation of guilty parties by age). From these examples, he reasoned that “there must be a request to those things which… are duplicated with amazing consistency, and consistently similarly.” Later, Quetelet contended that criminal conduct was the aftereffect of society’s structure, keeping up that society “readies the wrongdoing, and the blameworthy are just the instruments by which it is executed.”

Though Quetelet concentrated on the qualities of social orders and endeavored to clarify their subsequent crime percentages, the Italian clinical specialist Cesare Lombroso (1836–1909) examined singular crooks to decide why they perpetrated wrongdoings. A portion of his examinations drove him to infer that individuals with certain cranial, skeletal, and neurological distortions were “brought into the world lawbreaker.” Exceptionally dubious at the time he introduced it, his hypothesis was at last dismissed by social researchers. The research of both Quetelet and Lombroso emphasized on the search for the causes of crime— a focus that criminology has retained.

Criminologist and their work in the field of criminology

Criminologists are the individuals who work and explore the field of criminology. They have an interdisciplinary standpoint towards wrongdoings and search for different perspectives, for example, personal conduct standards, brain science, and such to comprehend the reasons behind the specific wrongdoings or criminal behaviour.

The activity of a criminologist incorporates the investigation which depends on the nature of offence and the offenders, historical underpinnings of wrongdoing, a wrongdoing’s effect on society all in all, and how laws could be created to encourage the avoidance of violations. Because of this, criminology can be isolated into 3 channels of works which are:

  1. Investigation of a crime,
  2. Finding the reason behind wrongdoing, in this manner comprehend the crooks, and 
  3. To devise measures to forestall wrongdoing and top off provisos which are existing in the criminal law.

Benefits of criminology to the legal system

The field of criminology has made enhancements in nearly the whole equity conveyance framework. It has changed a human being’s response to crime which has in turn drastically affected both victims and criminals. It helps us to better understand crime, its cause, and its effect on society as a whole. It has prompted the foundation of increasingly specific regions, as ecological criminology which has acquired headways, police strategies, networks arranged to police, and so forth. It endeavors to clarify why certain occasions are viewed as wrongdoing in specific social orders and not in the others, subsequently, setting up law for the improvement of the law. Through this, it additionally builds up the contrast among societies and social orders, lawful and unlawful, etc. 

Criminology incorporates the investigation of a few unique speculations like old-style, positivist, and so on, which encourages us to comprehend why violations are submitted. Through its different speculations, it recommends that individuals carry out violations either when they see an advantage or through interior and outside variables, which incorporate organic elements or social factors. The entirety of this helps the lawmakers and the legal executive to comprehend wrongdoing in a  more comprehensive manner subsequent with laying more powerful and substantial laws. 

It puts forth a reasonable strategy for balancing bad behavior and controlling and preventing law infringement depending on its gravity. By making disciplines increasingly harsher, crooks get aware of the potential consequences that their criminal behaviour and actions could result in. This, in turn, reduces the crime percentage.

Another road of criminology, i.e., explains the reason, causes, and motive behind a crime executed by a criminal and what was the mindset behind it. In entirety, criminology encourages us to get wrongdoing and hoodlums all the more profoundly. It expresses that humans can settle on choices and in this manner if he/she violates a law, he/she is at risk to be rebuffed. It underlines the harshness of the criminal equity framework, which can help forestall wrongdoings. It likewise prepares the legal executive to take reasonable measures for comprehending and setting up laws against violations. Through every one of these ways, modern criminology encourages us to comprehend the main drivers of wrongdoing and gives us the most ideal approach to address and forestall it, along these lines additionally helping the equity conveyance framework.

Future of criminology

The criminal equity framework has embraced the most recent advances to be a stage before the hoodlums. Innovation and law go inseparably to stay aware of the moving occasions. Present-day advances, for example, in the field of legal sciences invigorate incredible to the field of criminology which dissuades wrongdoing generally. The field of criminology has advanced and fused ballistic fingerprinting in scientific investigations which means to connect the scratches and marks in projectile housings with the weapons that shot them. This could help in explaining wrongdoings wherein the wrongdoer is obscure, and the proofs are very constrained. 

There are various systems in criminology which stretch out their techniques to the future too, with headways. These methods will make the criminal value system run all the more feasibly. One such structure could be the DNA Indexing System which is significantly used in India and has the best possibilities of development later on with headways in the general advancements. Spyware is a term used for devices that accumulate singular information in this way by taking a chance with a person’s protection. Criminology with the headways of science and advances and with the approach of artificial intelligence can progress in these fields. Right from the beginning, India never had any specific laws that dealt with cybercrimes, initially it was an extremely undermined crime. Although, now, developments in the legal system have recognised it as a dangerous crime which is becoming extremely common these days. India still needs significant inspiration to shield individuals from major digital dangers and come up with more rigid laws regarding it. 

Electronic development is changing at a fast rate and in this manner, law implementation organizations likewise need to be updated according to the current scenario. This must be finished by getting major redoes in the approach of wrongdoing control which is managed by the field of criminology. Upgraded GPS reference points and biometric IDs could be the underlying strides to get significant transformations in this field. Facial Recognition Device and Iris Scan could be turned into a basic apparatus of perceiving individuals, which would be the best instrument. In this way, one might say that later on, by using the mechanical developments, criminology could significantly be advanced, which, thus would provide entirely different guidance to the equity conveyance arrangement of the country.

Future trends to be followed

Criminology addresses a different assortment of data that combines a wide arrangement of approaches. Although not many contemporary patterns can be applied to the entire field of study, it is in any case where the examination is progressively quantitative, especially in contemplating and analyzing the reasons for crime. A portion of this work applies the quantifiable procedure started by Quetelet to explain the crime rates related with explicit social gatherings; other works utilize the methodology put forth by Lombroso, to clarify the probability of a person carrying out a crime as far as his natural, mental, or social attributes. Moreover, these methodologies are progressively focused on probabilistic forecasts as opposed to supreme or deterministic ones. At last, criminologists presently focus on recognizing factors in social orders that are related with moderately little argumentations in crime percentage and variables in people that are related with moderately little additions in the likelihood that they will perpetuate crime. The entirety of this mirrors the intrinsic multifaceted nature of the subject and focuses on the end where no single factor decides about if an individual carries out wrongdoing or whether a general public has high or low crime percentages.

Criminology addresses a different assortment of data that combines a wide collection of approaches. Even though relatively few contemporary examples can be applied to the whole field of study, it is regardless that much assessment is dynamically quantitative, particularly in considering investigating the explanations behind bad behavior. A segment of this work applies the quantifiable approach started by Quetelet to explain the wrongdoing rates related with explicit social requests and get-togethers; other work uses the strategy began by Lombroso, to explain the likelihood of an individual’s completing a bad behavior to the extent his regular, mental, or social qualities. Additionally, these procedures are dynamically centered around probabilistic gauges rather than incomparable or deterministic ones. Finally, criminologists by and by will when all is said in the done concentrate on perceiving factors in social requests that are connected with modestly little additions in wrongdoing rates and factors in individuals that are connected with tolerably little augmentations in the probability that they will sustain bad behaviors. The total of this reflects the inborn multifaceted nature of the subject and centers towards the end where no single factor truly chooses about if an individual completes bad behavior or whether an overall population has high or low wrongdoing rates.


To develop and sustain Criminology as a discipline of learning and applications, there is a need to work on the gaps and problems identified in the research survey. The UGC, ICSSR, and the Institutions already working in this area are required to display greater concern for this subject. The UGC can think of establishing centers for excellence in criminology. The matter can also be taken up with the Government agencies and organization for considering the subject in their recruitment process.

The UGC or Ministry of Human Resource Development can do the needful in this matter. The bodies like Indian Society of Criminology must act in this direction.  The UGC and ICSSR may consider a greater and separate funds allocation for researchers in Criminology. The development of standard syllabi in criminology may also be given attention to.

Criminology has now started to blend in with current scientific and technological developments. This is the beginning stage of our way towards the future and this exclusively relies upon the flexibility of our laws with the current progressions. Our officials should try making laws with the assistance of criminologists, who are future-prepared and are available to tolerate changes according to the conditions required. It is expected that subsequently, innovations will be used unimaginably and it will make Indian criminology future-prepared. It is just through the cutting edge advancements that the field of criminology can proceed further and take the form of a philosophy that can help the country’s equity framework at each front.


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