Durkheim wrote about different varieties of topics but based his main issue on the nature of social order and social solidarity. Law and crime was seen as a main term to reveal development of the solidarity in society. The developments of different forms of punishment are discussed in this essay. Durkheim identified ‘two laws’

1) The Law of Quantitative Change

The intensity of punishment is the greater the more closely societies approximate to a less developed type – and the more the central power assumes an absolute character.2

2) The Law of Qualitative Change

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Deprivations of liberty, and of liberty alone, varying in time according to the seriousness of the crime, tend to become more and more the normal means of social control. 3

Whether one social type is more advanced than another it has only to be seen if it is more complex or more organised. The societies are found at different levels and in these social conditions one looks at this as a general evolution of societies. A government is usually based in an extremely complex society and does not posses an absolutist character, as it is not linked with any social type.

‘In a very large number of ancient societies death pure and simple is not the supreme punishment’4. Several forms of punishment were established and used in the ancient societies to determine the characteristic. The main command of punishment was distinguished between regular death sentences. Punishment in ancient societies, the characteristics were divided into ‘seven categories: impalement on a pointed stake, being burned to death, being crushed to death under elephant’s feet, judicial drowning, having boiling oil poured into one’s ears and mouth, being torn apart by dogs in public, being cut in to pieces with razors’5. These forms of punishment as well as others were used over a period of time amongst the Egyptians, Assyrians, Syrians, French, Romans and Asians. It was then considered by all that a certain deal of punishment being used was set. It was not possible for all the offences to be listed that were punished in this way.

It was shown that the penal law still remained severe for the punishments held. ‘A more advanced type of society’6, was more observed in the severity of punishment. The forms of punishment held by the characteristics of the modern societies were ‘death by drinking hemlock, by the sword, by strangulation’7. Other sources of punishment were held at hand such as harsher forms of punishment and ways of torture before death sentences. ‘Torture was used not only as a means of getting information, but also as a means of punishment’8. It was seen that in the middle of the eighteenth century the role of punishment was formed into a judgment of the offences committed in the time.

The punishment would be judged upon the source of the crime. Durkheim said that the idea of prison as a punishment emerged in one other book then the Ezra first. ‘It is only in the book of Ezra that imprisonment appears, for the first time, as a punishment properly so-called’9. Imprisonment was imposed as a special way of punishment. Punishment by prison was seen as a highly slandered situation for a source of punishment as the tribunals were empowered in sentences.

Prison was seen to be a way to dictate and prevent those accused of crime or as an appropriate way of making someone do as they are told. It was from the Church societies that the prison was developed fully. It was taken into as a temporary detention for doing wrong or as a means of monastery for some criminals. ‘At first this was thought of as a no more than a means of surveillance, but later on incarceration, or imprisonment properly so-called, came into existence, being regarded as a genuine punishment’10. It was shown that in the eighteenth century prison was established and recognised fully.

When Durkheim distinguished between the religious criminality and the human criminality he was trying to show that as humans we tend to show more of constant appliqu�s towards the judgement of ones doing. ‘We shall not see then as acts of ‘less-divinity’, but simply of ‘less-humanity”11. The first sentiment of the humanity of crime is the sub consciousness of the impact that religion has towards it. The same mental state that comes to mind is to encounter the punishment and moderate the punishment. ‘While religious forms of criminality decline, it is inevitable that punishment on the average should become weaker’.

Religious criminality held a more complete atmosphere towards the punishments than human criminality. ‘Human morality progressively sheds it’s primitively confessionals character’13. The whole overall linguistic features established through the human and religious criminality was that ‘human criminality develops and religious criminality recedes’14. But a mutual influence must be noted that, ‘for as human criminality gains ground, it reacts in its turn on religious criminality and, so to speak, assimilates it’15

The sentiments of the ancient societies and modern societies differ by ‘the manner in which collective sentiments reacted against crime changed because these sentiments changed’16. This transformation took place from changes in societies through the ancient societies and modern societies. Durkheim believed that the collective changes in milder punishment did not indicate a lack of social control through criminal law just that the changes had there own effects of the society. ‘If the punishment is milder today than formerly it is not because former penal institutions, while remaining intact, have little by little lost their rigour; but rather they have been replaced by different institutions’17 Durkheim used the R�gles de la Methode Sociologique and the Ezra book as evidence to support his arguments with other sources of legal documentations.

Broken windows is possibly one of the most influential and widely cited articles. The article is about the role of police in a neighbourhood endorsing safety through reducing fear of crime. The image ‘broken windows’ is used to explain how neighbourhoods deteriorate into insolence, chaos and criminality if attention is not maintained. A broken window signals to law abiding and criminals alike that no one cares. Slowly other windows in the building and area begin to be smashed. This will reinforce the sense that the local neighbourhood and authorities have given up and that the disorder is lenient.

Minor community acts undermines community security and conceal the criminality. ‘If a neighbourhood or street is perceived to be increasingly disorderly and unsafe people modify their behaviour accordingly’18. People being fearful of harassment and trouble avoid the streets and areas or move through them as quick as possible. Respectable residents being to realise the area will determinate soon and start leaving the area. It is then left with vulnerable and weak people, this leaves the streets open to relocation for prostitutes, drugs and other street crimes. This gives them the opportunities to claim ownership of the streets set through a mistakable left broken window. The source of foot police was and effort between the police and neighbourhood, to have more of a connection between the law and community.

This was considered to have more of an effect for less likely disorder in the area. The convincing analysis behind broken windows fed into strategy negotiations about the need for new approaches to urban policing. Wilson and Kelling argued for a return to old-fashioned communities being oriented in order maintenance on police work to make order in neighbourhoods where they will make a change. The significance is that the response and authoritarian policy responds. The problem of the policing could be argued to be premised on similar bases of stabilizing urban communities. This is a situated position for the police to control disturbance and prioritise crime prevention. “The approach advocated in this article has been controversial for a number of reasons, including the issues it raises about the limits of the criminal law and about the rights of citizens in relation to the state”19.

Crime is not obvious and is the definition of those taken position in an action taken place. Crime is the definition of several expressions Harm the nature of an injury caused and the victim being hurt. Social agreement or consensus is ‘whether the victim has been harmed’20. Official societal response the existence of the crime being in the criminal law and the enforcement emerged. Critical challenges have been stated because of the legal consensus from those in theoretical positions. ‘The first problematic is the issue of what harm has been caused and what counts a harm’21.

The most serious crimes that are put in consideration are restriction on the freedom of individuals, crimes towards the state, crimes that injure people’s security and property, and crimes dispersed to public peace. An act of crime is determined is one or more members of the community are harmed. One simply act of crime effect the community in the rate of criminal offences and welcomes more crime to be approved in the area. Just like with the broken windows when one window was broken it opened up a new path for more corrupted incidence to happen.

Each crime has a punishment depending on the circumstances of the crime. Concepts of moral economy were developed as a means of analysing and explaining crowd actions. From person being a threat to society the ‘diffusion in which other places is inter-connected with the initial event’22. The approaches to law, crime and morality were of great deal of interest to criminologists and radical socio-legal scholars. “Engels did not bring their ideas on law together in a developed theory: hence the interpretation of their views on law remains controversial” 23.


‘A term which covers the application of clinical, managerial or social scientific methods or expertise to the disciplined study and evaluation of penal institutions, especially prisons’24. Penology attempts to reform rationalize penal conditions and regimes so as to maximize their corrective effectiveness. It is more practically oriented, there is no sense that nothing works.

Social Control

‘A poorly defined concept which has been used to describe all means through which conformity might be achieved – from infant socialization to incarceration. It has been employed in various guises within interactionism, labelling, control theory, feminism, critical criminology and post-structuralism’25.


‘A term introduced from the French p�nalit� and owing its current salience primarily to the influence of Foucault’26. The use of the term penality is a strike on conscious of normal penal theory. The endless changeability and the intense political controversy and social analysis have become a high field of criminological enquiry.


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