Crime: Its Cause and Treatment


Read by Peter Yearsley

(4.4 stars; 13 reviews)

Clarence Darrow was an American lawyer. He remains notable for his wit and agnosticism, which marked him as one of the most famous American lawyers and civil libertarians.

In this book, Darrow expands on his lifelong contention that psychological, physical, and environmental influences—not a conscious choice between right and wrong—control human behavior. To my ears (the reader's), the author has a rather simplistic behaviourist view of human behaviour, but he argues his position with wonderful clarity. Darrow is coherently critical of conspiracy laws, of the creation of laws by the powerful (and consequently the definition of "crime" by that group) .... and his views on the machinery of "justice" and on how criminals are treated are still very relevant. (Summary adapted from Wikipedia.) (7 hr 44 min)

Chapters

Preface; Chapter 1: What is Crime? 21:16 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 2: Purpose of Punishment 28:33 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 3: Responsibility for Crime 14:16 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 4: Environment 5:21 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 5: Adjusting Heredity and Environment 4:46 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 6: Psychology of Criminal Conduct 20:28 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 7: The Criminal 22:48 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 8: The Female Criminal 5:27 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 9: Juvenile Criminals 9:19 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 10: Homicide 11:11 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 11: Sex Crimes 5:23 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 12: Robbery and Burglary 2:23 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 13: Man as a Predatory Animal 11:31 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 14: Crimes against Property 11:44 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 15: Attitude of the Criminal 11:55 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 16: The Law and the Criminal 23:21 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 17: Repealing Laws 6:33 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 18: Is Crime Increasing? 14:22 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 19: Medical Experts 11:04 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 20: Punishment 12:59 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 21: The Effect of Punishment on Others 5:26 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 22: Evolution of Punishment 7:39 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 23: Capital Punishment 10:19 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 24: Stigmata of the Criminal 8:53 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 25: The Good in Criminals 7:10 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 26: The Defective and Insane 16:46 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 27: Social Control 17:11 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 28: Industrialism and Crime 17:17 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 29: War and Crime 13:31 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 30: Civilization and Crime 15:57 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 31: The Convict 4:39 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 32: Isolation and Sterilization 27:49 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 33: Crime, Disease and Accident 7:22 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 34: Luck and Chance 12:38 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 35: Pardons and Paroles 15:55 Read by Peter Yearsley
Chapter 36: Remedies 21:22 Read by Peter Yearsley

Reviews

Cutting edge research in the field of neuroeconomics supports Darrow's hypothes…


(5 stars)

The reader is correct that this book reflects Clarence Darrow's deeply held belief that "psychological, physical, and environmental influences—not a conscious choice between right and wrong—control human behavior." The reader is incorrect when he dismisses this hypothesis as "a simplistic behaviourist view of human behaviour." Far from being a simple-minded behaviorist, Clarence Darrow was an intuitive genius whose theories on the causes of crime were way ahead of his time. Darrow wrote this book in 1922. It would be another 30 years before the structure and function of DNA would be discovered, Today, more than 75 years after it was written, cutting edge neurological research seems to support Darrow's central hypothesis that criminal behavior is caused by psycho-physical factors that are beyond the individual's control. Scientists working in the new field of neuro-economics have established a direct link between the mechanics that regulates individual decision-making and the genetic structure of the human brain. Just last week an international team of scientists announced the discovery of the specific part of the brain that controls decision making. See "Scientists discover brain part that drives decision-making," http://www.cbsnews.com/news/scientists-discover-decision-making-brain-structure/ (Nov. 25, 2013). See also "Fundamental role for lateral habenula in promoting subjective decision biases," http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3587.html >>> Additional research in this area is also being conducted in the Glimcher Lab at NYU. http://www.decisionsrus.com See Paul W. Glimcher (2008) Neuroeconomics. Scholarpedia, 3(10):1759); See also "The Neural Basis of Decision Making," >> http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/pseries/CCN/gold_shadlen_review.pdf. (2007). While the scientific research on the causal connection between brain structure and decision-making is still in its infancy, it increasingly looks as if variations or defects in the physical structure of the human brain can predispose certain individuals to engage in the type of impulsive decision-making that precipitates criminal conduct. Although the researchers have been focusing their studies on economic decision-making, the implications of this research for the administration of the criminal justice system are obvious. Can individuals with specific variations in brain structure be considered to have been "hard-wired" for a life of crime? Google > "brain structure" + "decision making."

A serious presentation of the issue.


(4 stars)

Neither dry nor dull.


(5 stars)

Quite compelling, especially as read by Peter Yearsley.