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Making of Laws by Edwin Sutherland

Criminology, a branch of sociology, refers to the scientific study of crime as a social phenomenon, criminals and punitive treatment. According to Edwin Sutherland and Donald Cressey, “Criminology is a treasure trove of knowledge about crime as a social phenomenon. It includes, within its scope, the processes of making laws, breaking laws and responding to violations of laws. It systematically examines the various aspects of a crime, including its causes and prevention, from the perspective of various disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, biology, psychiatry, economics and statistics. Research to gain knowledge about crime and related perspectives is based on criminal justice understanding, explanation, prediction, prevention and policy. There were various opinions and theories about crimes, criminals, laws and punishments in the field of criminology. Many of them can be grouped under four different schools of thought that explain the similarities and differences between them in terms of different factors that influence a crime. The four schools of thought in criminology are: The “father” of American criminology, Edwin Sutherland, once defined criminology as the study of the making, violation, and enforcement of laws. Criminologists study the historical origin of laws – from criminal law to regulatory law to international law – and the impact of these laws at local, regional and global levels. Criminologists also investigate why people break or violate these laws; As a result, some individuals commit street crimes (criminal law), white-collar crime (regulatory law) and political crimes (international law). Finally, criminologists assess the application of each of these laws, such as the various organizations associated with criminal law violations (police, courts, and prisons) and regulatory agencies (such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, among others) that enforce violations of regulatory law.

USM`s Department of Criminology is unique in that students gain a comprehensive understanding of the development, violation, and enforcement of the above laws. It is very different, for example, from criminal justice programs that simply focus on the latter category – the organizations that make up the criminal justice system. He received his bachelor`s thesis at Grand Island College in Nebraska, followed by graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in 1913. He then spent six years on the faculty of William Jewell College in Missouri, where, as he said, he had the opportunity to think about what he wanted to do, plan his courses and test them. In 1919, he moved to the University of Illinois, where Professor Hayes persuaded him to write a book on criminology. This experience seemed to fix Mr. Sutherland`s main interest, to which he clung with a consistency which not all his admirers showed. In 1926, he joined the group that did sociological history at the University of Minnesota.

In 1930, he became a member of the department that prepared him for his doctorate at the University of Chicago. From 1935 to 1949, he succeeded U.G. Weatherly as head of the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. At that time, he gave up the administrative work he had done so well, but remained an active member of the department until his death. Sutherland`s 1939 presidential address on “white-collar crime” was one of the few such speeches to make headlines. It was published in February 1940 in the American Sociological Review, Volume V, No. 1, and later evolved into the volume on white-collar crime. Here, Sutherland analyzed “white-collar crime” to support his hypotheses that attribute the causes of crime to social phenomena rather than to the biological and emotional characteristics “preserved” in the criminal. In this speech, it was argued that many businessmen and professionals commit crimes that should be brought into the realm of theories of criminal behavior. Evidence of the prevalence of these white-collar crimes was obtained in an analysis of court and commission decisions against the seventy largest industrial and commercial enterprises in the United States under four types of laws, namely: antitrust, false advertising, domestic labor relations, and patent, copyright, and trademark infringement.

This led to the conclusion that 547 adverse decisions were made characterizing the conduct in question as illegal, but only 49 (9%) of the total were made by criminal courts and were ipso facto decisions that the conduct was criminal. In his analysis of the remaining 498 adverse decisions, Sutherland logically concluded that 473 of them concerned a crime according to abstract criteria generally considered necessary by legal scholars to define the crime, namely the legal description of an act as socially harmful and the legal determination of a punishment for the act. This fine-grained implementation of corporate crime law in these 473 cases eliminated, or at least minimized, the stigma of crime. Sutherland says it may be a great policy to eliminate the stigma of crime in a large number of cases, but the question is why the law has a different application for white-collar criminals than for others. Among the honors Edwin Sutherland rightly received were: president of the American Sociological Society, 1939; president of the Société de recherche sociologique, 1940-42; Consulting editor of the American Journal of Sociology. His publications include Unemployment and Public Employment Agencies (1913), Criminology (1924), Twenty Thousand Homeless Men (with H. J. Locke) (1936), The Professional Thief (1937), Principles of Criminology (1947) and White Collar Crime (1949). Sutherland`s approach was developed through several editions of his book Criminology (1924), arguably the most influential work in the history of the discipline. Contrary to dominant biological and psychological explanations, Sutherland asserted that criminal behaviour was the product of normal learning through social interaction.

He asserted that individual behavior is learned by peers and that if an individual`s peer group is delinquent, he will identify that behavior as normal. Normal learning occurs through both verbal and nonverbal communication and helps determine whether the attitudes an individual internalizes are favorable or unfavorable to violations of the law. Through the normal learning process, people who tend to break the law also develop motivations and rationalizations for criminal activities. Sutherland asserted that individuals commit criminal acts when there is an excess of attitudes that promote violations of the law, and also acknowledged the existence of a criminal life cycle, which he defined in terms of how these attitudes vary in content and intensity throughout the criminal`s life.