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T ODAY'S reappraisal of our criminal law was the subject suggested to me as
appropriate for the the legal contribution to this university-wide symposium.
I agreed, because I think-and hope that as I proceed you may feel-that this is
a matter of equal concern to us all. The stimulus to reappraisal derives at least
as much from advances in appreciation of the human creative potential and in
knowledge of human personality and behavior, emanating from the arts and
sciences, as from audits of the social losses and gains attributable to the operations of enforcement agencies.
We have learned that adequate appraisal must take account of the law's
impact on the whole range of community interests; and we know that such
appraisal is not possible without a pooling of the perspectives and skills of all the disciplines represented in a university. The interest we share in this appraisal, and the magnitude of that interest, are implicit in the basic social role of criminal law in all major cultures and through time. One might define this law as the pattern or duster of institutional arrangements on which we rely-short of private retaliation and group warfare-for coping with those deviational acts, personalities and conditions which we consider so destructive of the values we hold as to require drastic intervention in the name of the community as a whole.
Date of Authorship for this Version
social role, criminal law