Crime, and the issues that relate to it, arouse compelling curiosity and fervent debate. In the human psyche, crimes and their underlying motives often capture equal measures of fascination and revulsion. In the media, criminals are both condemned and granted celebrity. Accordingly, the readings and resources offered in Crime and Punishment: Essential Primary Sources are designed to demonstrate the development, diversity, and duality of attitudes and arguments related to crime and punishment.
The selections in Crime and Punishment: Essential Primary Sources are intended to stimulate critical thought and debate about issues that generate social discourse and consume social resources. The selections attempt to reflect passionate debate about such issues as the death penalty, where impassioned pleas for mercy often contrast with the condemned’s indifferent and brutal acts.
Crime and Punishment: Essential Primary Sources provides primary source documents related to leading social issues of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twentyfirst centuries. The selection of primary sources draws from speeches, legislation, magazine and newspaper articles, memoirs, letters, interviews, novels, essays, songs, and works of art related to crime and punishment.
Because criminal intent and culpability can be critical components of debate, Crime and Punishment: Essential Primary Sources entries offer important insights into the criminal mind as they explore a range of crimes that range from economic and nonviolent crimes to crimes of violence, crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism, and hate crimes. Moreover, because perceptions and impacts of crime also play key roles in framing social issues, the selection of entries attempts to portray the realities of systems of justice and punishment that change as social values evolve.