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Crime, Police, and Penal PolicyEuropean Experiences 1750-1940$
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Clive Emsley

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199202850

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202850.001.0001

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Penal Policies and the Impact of War

Penal Policies and the Impact of War

(p.227) 12 Penal Policies and the Impact of War
Crime, Police, and Penal Policy

Clive Emsley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Before the outbreak of the First World War across Europe, there were some general moves towards liberalization in the courts and the alleviation of punishment, most notably with regard to juveniles. The war had a noticeable impact on the statistics of crime: overall it declined, though proportionately, the number of female and juvenile offenders increased. At the end of the war, there were concerns about brutalized veterans and men with war psychoses returning to commit crimes. There appears to have been a significant increase in offending in the defeated states after the war, and Weimar Germany in particular witnessed an obsession with violence, murder and sex crimes during the post-war period. In general, however, by the mid-1920s crime levels had returned to roughly the pre-war pattern and the usual suspects — vagrants and the work-shy — continued to be stigmatized.

Keywords:   courts, crime statistics, First World War, murder, punishment, sex crimes, violence

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