Comparative Research on Crime and Delinquency — The Role and Relevance of National Penal Codes and Criminal Justice Systems

  • Hans Jorg Albrecht
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASID, volume 50)


In the fields of criminology and criminal law probably everybody can agree with two propositions. First, throughout the world, criminal and delinquent acts are observed, recorded and counted. Rates of crime are interpreted as rather important indicators of a paramount social problem. Second, we can agree that throughout the world — and independent from cultural and political systems — criminal laws as well as criminal justice systems exist, displaying (to varying degrees) successful attempts to define and classify behavior or events as requiring punishment or some other societal reactions, be it treatment or education. Offenders or delinquents are processed through various stages of criminal justice. On the other hand, it is equally easy to conclude that despite rather uniform roles and functions law has been assigned in industrialized countries (Luhmann, 1972), there do not exist universal definitions of crime and delinquency. Agreement has not been reached on what is or what should be considered to be a criminal act or delinquent behavior (neglecting here rather meaningless abstract definitions such as: a crime is an act violating criminal law without justification or excuse). The answer to the question of whether there are universal crimes thus points to the rather trivial idea that law and norms, crime and deviance, represent relative concepts which vary along the dimensions of culture and nations as well as over time (Chang & Blazichek, 1986).


Criminal Justice System Delinquent Behavior Sexual Victimization Property Crime Penal Code 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Jorg Albrecht
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck InstituteFreiburg im BreisgauFederal Republic of Germany

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