Jeremy Bentham

FIFTY KEY CRIMINOLOGICAL THINKERS, S. Maruna, J. Mooney & K. Hayward, eds., Routledge, Forthcoming

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/100

10 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2009  

Pat O'Malley

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: September, 25 2009

Abstract

Jeremy Bentham is associated in criminology with his invention of the 'Panopticon.' In many ways this appeared as the quintessential disciplinary institution, training subjects to be 'docile' and obedient. Yet Bentham's classical criminology also stressed that actors are rational choice optimisers, and are to be seen as inventive and enterprising rather than servile and mindless. In part, the overemphasis on the Panopticon leads modern criminologists ignore this side of his thinking and to see Bentham as narrowly punitive and disciplinary. But in his later years he turned toward 'pecuniary sanctions', fines and damages, that he regarded as the optimal liberal sanction. Bentham outlined many of the advantages of monetary justice, and advocated their use in relation to almost every crime, in place of the more usual punishments. This chapter suggests a need to reconsider the contribution of Bentham to criminology and penology in terms of such later works and ideas rather than his advocacy of the Panopticon alone.

Keywords: Bentham, classical criminology, liberalism, Panopticon, prison, fines

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30

Suggested Citation

O'Malley, Pat, Jeremy Bentham (September, 25 2009). FIFTY KEY CRIMINOLOGICAL THINKERS, S. Maruna, J. Mooney & K. Hayward, eds., Routledge, Forthcoming; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/100. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1478304

Pat O'Malley (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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