8 Most Significant Criminologists Who Were Masters of their Field

Criminology is an in-depth field of study that requires expert intervention from a variety of disciplines. It’s a mix of psychology, social anthropology, biology, law, and many other disciplines which fall in a similar category. From the sound of it, criminology is not an easy field to get into. If you’ve developed an interest and you seek a future in criminal justice, then criminology is the way to go. Criminology itself is the study of causes & consequences behind criminal acts. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the most influential criminologists who have left a significant mark in the field’s history. We will learn how they have shaped this area of study. Also, something of interest for the more modern individuals of the present era. A criminologist is tasked with the responsibility to find ways how he or she can control and seek ways to prevent future crimes from taking place.

So are you eager to learn about these incredible people & what they have contributed as criminologists to this society? Let’s find out.

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham is an English philosopher and he is quite known for his range of work in the field of economics. He has worked greatly to establish social reforms for animal rights and is a founding member of welfarism. Jeremy has established himself as a father figure in England’s Poor Laws and reshaped social welfare in schools, prisons, courts, and many other public institutions. He has codified common law into statutes and founded the idea of utilitarianism.

Cesare Beccaria

Cesare Beccaria is regarded as one of the most influential criminologists. He was an Italian philosopher who has written & expressed his thoughts about social justice in a book named On Crimes and Punishments (1764). His book provided rational arguments against torture and the death penalty which were being used at that time. It was considered to be a complete revolution of thoughts about crimes & punishments in history.

This book had an enormous impact on many countries – later influenced the philosophy of law in the US, France & Germany. He proposed common-sense ideas about criminal justice like proportionality in punishment. Such ideas were later used in drafting the US Bill of Rights. His contributions to society are tremendous and he is still well respected for his work in this area of study.

Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler was an Austrian psychologist who founded the school of individual psychology. He developed a philosophy that the mental & physical well-being of an individual is vital for his development. He didn’t believe in the idea that crime was innate to human nature; rather he believed that environment had a tremendous impact on one’s personality.

This school of thought took him to become one of the most important criminologists in history. He argued that crime is not something that’s innate rather it is due to some emotional abnormalities. His work, later on, was acknowledged & accepted in the US which led to the implementation of his school of thought in criminology.

Ernest Jones

Ernest Jones is a Welsh psychoanalyst and criminologist who has contributed greatly to the field of criminology. He was an expert in Freudian psychoanalysis & he has written many books on the topic. One of his most influential books is The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud which speaks about his own psychological interpretation of criminological theories.

Robert K Merton

Robert K Merton is a famous criminologist. His contributions in the areas of deviance and societal reaction. are commendable in this field. His theory of a self-fulfilling prophecy has influenced many other academics – even psychologists & sociologists. He says that society reacts to crime based on what they believe it’s going to be, rather than actual facts about the crime. His theories are based on the idea that people will go to great lengths to achieve society’s vision of success. Even if it means committing a crime, leading to a vicious cycle.

Eleanor & Franklin Zimring

The Zimrings are famous criminologists who have researched immensely in the area of the gun control law. Eleanor & Franklin are American researchers who have written many books on crime and punishment around the world. whereas, the book titled “The great American crime decline” is their best-known book written. That explains the reason behind the drop rate in crimes in America since the 1990s. This book was extremely helpful in understanding the factors that have contributed to a decline in crime rates.

Ferdinand Tomasic

Ferdinand Tomasic is a Croatian criminologist who has contributed to the area of victimology. He is considered to be one of the most influential criminologists in history because of his contribution towards various aspects of victimology like surviving victims of violence & abuse, sexual abuse against children, and many other areas. His works also included studying gender differences in crime rates which were very revolutionary. His masterwork “Crime and Human Nature (1985)” gave an overview of criminal behavior. Thus, that was all supported by scientific evidence rather than assumptions or beliefs.

Sigmund Freud

Last but not the least, Sigmund Freud is one of the most well-known figures in the field of criminology. He is a pioneer who contributed to the study of criminal behavior via his theory of psychoanalysis. Criminologists have been using his proposed concepts throughout history. He has influenced ideas about serial killers, mass murderers, and other criminals as well. In short, Freud’s theories have had a great impact on criminological theories.

Are you a curious mind and would like to follow a career path in criminology? Do you want to learn what motivates individuals to conduct crimes? Want to find out ways to prevent them from happening by becoming a criminologist? Let us help you take the lead in understanding by allowing you to enroll in one of the best universities for Criminology. My Degree is a platform that can help you guide on which area is the most supportive when it comes to career building. Want to explore your options? Why not take a path in BA (Hons) Criminology & Psychology or BA (Hons) Criminology & Law. See how you can become a shining star in the field?

Scroll to Top