7 Pages

Clinical v. sociological criminology The clinician and the scientist

Unfortunately, this is not the case in criminology. The 'general' 'scientific' criminologist tends to be a sociologist, the 'clinician' a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or a social worker. These different roles have facilitated a split between practice and science. Moreover, of the different disciplines working in the field of criminology, medicine, psychology, and social work have taken up the 'practical' end of the continuum while sociology has dominated the 'science' end. Exceptions can be found, but the somewhat overstated generalization probably portrays much of the reality of our field. The split has been increased and aggravated by the ensuing problems of terminology. The clinical criminologist has developed into an intuitive, client-(or patient-) oriented clinician, more and more indifferent to and ignorant of basic research in criminology. The broad (and often unconfirmed) theories of the sociologists have little meaning for him unless he can translate them into useful bits of information in his daily contact with 'cases'. He tends to rely more and more on his intuition, his 'clinical ability', his insight, his previous experience, the accumulated 'common sense' given him by prolonged contacts with other human beings. The scientifically oriented criminologist looks in vain for confirmation from the clinician. When he obtains it, it is impressionistic, hurried, clouded in unscientific terms such as 'degree of maladjustment' and 'amount ofresocialization'.