About the concept of the ‘dangerous individual’ in turn-of-the-century penal reform: Debates on recidivism, état dangereux, indeterminate sentencing, and civil liberty in the International Union of Penal Law, 1889-1914
Palabras clave:International Union of Penal Law, Union Internationale de Droit Pénal, Internationale Kriminalistische Vereinigung, transnational penal reform, habitual criminals, recidivism, incorrigibility, dangerousness, état dangereux, indeterminate sentencing, security measures, mental deficiency, social defense, modern school, positivism, Franz von Liszt, Adolphe Prins, and Gerard Anton van Hamel
Alluding to Michel Foucault’s famous article on the “concept of the ‘dangerous individual’ in 19th-century legal psychiatry” in the title,1 this article provides an overview of the founding of the International Union of Penal Law (IUPL), its penal reform agenda and major activities, before turning to a detailed examination and analysis of the IUPL’s debates, at its congresses from 1889 to 1913, on a central topic: special measures to be taken against socalled “incorrigible habitual criminals” or “dangerous” recidivists (the terminology varied over time). By analyzing recurring patterns of argumentation as well as their development over time, the article pursues three goals. First, it reveals the IUPL’s failure to live up to its own demand that penal policy should be based on empirical criminological and penological research; second, it elucidates the role of civil liberty concerns within the IUPL by demonstrating that prominent critical voices objected to subjective criteria for “dangerousness” and to indeterminate sentencing as threats to individual freedom; third, by tracing the role of the three founders in these debates, it offers a fresh comparison of the penal reform agendas of Liszt, van Hamel, and Prins.
Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 España (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 ES)