Jeremy Bentham on Police

The unknown story and what it means for criminology

Edited by Scott Jacques and Philip Schofield

ISBN: 9781787356177

Publication: October 18, 2021

What is this?

Jeremy Bentham’s ideas on punishment are famous. Every criminology student learns about Bentham, and every criminologist contends with him, as advocate or opponent. This discourse concerns his ideas about punishment, namely with respect to legislation and the panopticon. Yet, scholars and students are generally ignorant of Bentham’s ideas on police. Hitherto, these ideas have been largely unknowable. Now, thanks to UCL’s Bentham Project, these ideas are public.

Jeremy Bentham on Police celebrates this achievement by exploring the story of Bentham’s writings on police and considering their relevance to the past, present and future of criminology. After Scott Jacques introduces the book, the Director of the Bentham Project, Philip Schofield, describes and explains how it works. Then Michael Quinn, who brought together Bentham’s writings on police, delves into the personal and socio-historical background in which they were created. An extract follows, representing the most (criminologically-)relevant passages from Bentham’s police writings. Finally, a rich variety of scholars offer their thoughts on what those writings mean for criminology. These contributions come from Anthony A. Braga, Ronald Clarke, David J. Cox, Stephen Douglas, Stephen Engelmann, G. Geltner, Joel F. Harrington, Jonathan Jacobs, Paul Knepper, Gloria Laycock, Gary T. Marx, Daniel S. Nagin, Graeme R. Newman, Pat O’Malley, Eric L. Piza, Kim Rossmo, Lucia Summers and Dean Wilson.

Scott Jacques is Director of Criminology Open, and Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia State University.

Philip Schofield is Director of the Bentham Project, Faculty of Laws, UCL, and General Editor of the new authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.

Notes on contributors

Part I: Chapters

1 The Story of Jeremy Bentham on Police: Bridging the Bentham Project to Criminology
Scott Jacques

2 Jeremy Bentham, the Bentham Project and The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham Philip Schofield

3 Bentham on Preventive Police: The Calendar of Delinquency in Evaluation of Policy, and the Police Gazette in Manipulation of Opinion Michael Quinn

Part II: Extracts

4 Extracts from Jeremy Bentham’s Board-of-Police Bill Jeremy Bentham (Selected and edited by Philip Schofield and Scott Jacques)

Part III: Comments

The Influence of Bentham on the Development of Focused Deterrence Anthony A. Braga and Stephen Douglas

Regulating Crime and the International Crime Drop
Ronald Clarke

‘An Attention to Domestic Quiet’: A Comparative Commentary on the Originality or Otherwise of Bentham’s Views and Writings on Preventive Policing and the Police Gazette
David J. Cox

Bentham’s Virtue Stephen Engelmann
On Policing Before Bentham: Differences in Degree and Differences in Kind
G. Geltner

Bentham’s England and the Longue Durée of Preventive Policing
Joel F. Harrington

Bentham on the Complex Role of Police Jonathan Jacobs

Bentham and Historical Criminology
Paul Knepper

Bentham: The First Crime Scientist?
Gloria Laycock

Bentham on Modern Social Control: Prescient, Clairvoyant, Prescient, and More
Gary T. Marx

Utilitarianism and Policing in the US Daniel S. Nagin

Bentham in the Weeds
Graeme R. Newman

A Genealogy of Bentham’s Preventive Policing Pat O’Malley

Bentham on Crime Analysis and Evidence-Based Policing
Eric L. Piza

Bentham and the Philosophical Nature of Preventive Policing
Kim Rossmo and Lucia Summers

Bentham in the Colonies
*Dean Wilson


'Jeremy Bentham is more often the object of derivative caricature than serious enquiry in criminology. This book carefully appraises Bentham’s contributions to preventive police theory and presents a lively, polyphonic discussion of his significance and legacy for policing and crime control. It promises to inspire a more mature and rewarding engagement with Bentham’s thought in criminology at large.' David Churchill, University of Leeds

Format: Open Access PDF

259 Pages

Copyright: © 2021

ISBN: 9781787356177

Publication: October 18, 2021

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