The penalties of deprivation of liberty, at least in countries where human rights are respected, have the objective of making the individual who has committed a crime learn from it, learning that he should not do it again and leave prison to reintegrate into society. Clinical criminology definition
However, although the commission of a crime can have many causes, sometimes behind it there is a mental health problem, a dysfunctional personality pattern and antisocial behavior that, if not treated, will prevent the correct reintegration of the individual to the social core.
The objective of clinical criminology is to establish the criminological diagnosis that explains the antisocial behavior of a criminal , in order to be able to elaborate a treatment that helps him adapt to society once he has completed his sentence. Let’s go deeper into this branch of criminology.
Clinical criminology is the branch of general criminology that aims to study people who have committed a crime in order to establish a diagnosis of their behavior, propose the prognosis of how it will evolve in the short and long term and develop a treatment in order to ensure that the person does not commit the same crime again. This discipline starts from the clinical and individual study of the offender, understanding that every criminal act is an abnormal behavior, possibly the result of a conflictive personality or a specific violence problem.
The main purpose of custodial sentences, that is, prison sentences, is that of reintegration. These types of penalties are applied with the aim of ensuring that the subject who has committed a crime learns from his actions and does not commit them again once he is free, hoping that he behaves in a socially appropriate way. This objective is not possible if the offender’s pathology is not taken into account, if any, since it will require a specific treatment, this being the usefulness of clinical criminology in the criminal field. Clinical criminology definition
Among the referents within the field of clinical criminology we can find figures such as César Lombroso, Rafael Garólofo and Enrico Ferri and within this field it is intended to undertake the task of diagnosing and treating people who have committed crime with the in order to apply the necessary criminal prophylaxis measures to prevent them from committing it again. In the words of Benigno Di Tullio, the treatment of people who have committed crimes focuses on physical-psychosomatic, social, ethical, educational and moral rehabilitation .
Methodology of clinical criminology
Within the methodology of clinical criminology the following points can be highlighted:
- Direct understanding with the offender
- Medical exam
- Psychological examination, focusing on the individual’s personality
- Social survey about the environment in which the individual developed
In the clinical method applied in criminology multiple scientific disciplines are involved, with which it can be affirmed that this branch of criminological science is multidisciplinary . The clinical work approached at the crime scene, commission of the act and the individual who has carried it out is a scientific investigation that involves biology, neurology, psychiatry and general medicine.
All the data obtained from these branches are applied to the explanation of the possible causes behind the commission of the crime or the criminality of the individual, aiming to obtain the data and reports related to the organic functioning, neurological, physiological, endocrinological state, somatic and mental applied to criminological research. This same information is what can reveal to us what anomalous or pathogenic causes have predisposed the individual to present the antisocial personality and behavior that they have shown. Clinical criminology definition
The clinical criminological diagnosis is made in order to determine the degree of danger of the offender . At this point in the evaluation, 4 important phases are taken into account in the commission of the criminal act.
- Mitigating consent: conceives and does not reject the possibility of the offender’s crime.
- Formulated consent: where the person decides to commit the crime.
- State of danger
- Step into the act: the commission of the crime.
Each individual is a different entity, that is, a person with their biological, psychological and social individuality , and therefore the reasons that have pushed someone to commit a crime are very varied. That is why it is necessary to know the subject as deeply as possible, study it and approach it taking into account their family, personal and social history, data that will facilitate the criminological diagnosis in case of having a disorder or pathological behavioral pattern, determine the profile of criminological personality and the genesis of the crime.
Even so, it is worth mentioning that even if the personal and family history of an individual is known before the commission of the crime and the type of personality he has is determined, it does not offer a solution to the problem, but it does provide data on how to proceed to starting from this point, contributing to the development of a plan for reintegration into treatment .
The criminological treatment is the set of elements, norms and techniques that are applied in order to restructure the personality and behavior of a person, in order to turn him into a functional individual towards society, that is, to fully reinsert himself and not return to commit a crime of any kind. Thus, criminological treatment can be defined as the means to prevent the individual from committing a crime again . Clinical criminology definition
The treatment to be applied will vary greatly depending on the type of crime, the personality type of the individual who did it and the diagnosis fundamentally. The treatment must conform to what is pre-established by law, not violate fundamental rights and must be the subject of criminological investigation, in order to prevent the crime and also avoid the excessive extension of the treatment.
In clinical criminology, the effect that the family can have on the individual and their relationship in the commission of the crime is not ignored, since the family is the primary and fundamental cell in society . Its influence is very powerful in most people, to the point that it may be responsible for the erratic behavior of those who have committed a crime, especially if there are dysfunctional dynamics in the family nucleus.
There are many ways in which the family influences us, even as adults. The influence of intimate characteristics on the dynamics of the family group, the personality of the parents, the relationships with the relatives, the criminal history of a close member and other various aspects profoundly mark the formation of the human being, greatly influencing the individual. All of this can result in a person committing crimes, if the right conditions exist for the development of a pathological and dysfunctional personality. Clinical criminology definition
It is for all this that, if the necessary tools are available and the family of the person involved has an interest in collaborating, the family should also be intervened, modifying the pathological dynamics that may exist there and improving the functionality both of the individual once he has served his sentence and of the rest of the members of his family nucleus . By intervening in the family, it is possible not only to prevent the person who has committed the crime from doing it again, but also to prevent a relative from committing a criminal act.