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Sir Leon Radzinowicz

(1906—2000) criminologist


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Polish-born British criminologist and educator. He was knighted in 1970. Radzinowicz was born in Łódź and educated in Paris (at the Sorbonne), Geneva, and Rome, where he studied under the controversial criminologist Enrico Ferri. In 1932 he returned to Poland to teach the positivist criminology that Ferri favoured and became a professor at the Free University of Warsaw. His views made him unpopular, however, and after coming to England in 1938 to report on the working of the English penal system he settled in Cambridge on the outbreak of World War II.

In 1946 Radzinowicz was made director of the Department of Criminal Science at Cambridge and in 1948 became a fellow of Trinity College. In 1959 he took the major step of setting up the Institute of Criminology, which played a significant role in the development of the discipline and lent the subject a new legitimacy in the eyes of the establishment. Radzinowicz became the first Wolfson Professor of Criminology in the same year and was recognized as a leading authority on penal affairs. In this capacity he became an influential and charismatic member of many top-level committees and commissions and took a leading part in the debates on capital punishment and the treatment of dangerous prisoners. He also contributed to the scholarship of the field through numerous lectures and a number of books, most notably in his fifty-two-volume series English Studies in Criminal Science (later retitled Cambridge Studies in Criminology), which he began in 1948 and continued to enlarge throughout his subsequent career. In 1991 he published The Roots of the International Association of Criminal Law.

From Who's Who in the Twentieth Century in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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