15 Brit. J. Criminology 157 (1975)
Pathologies among Homicide Offenders: Some Cultural Profiles

handle is hein.journals/bjcrim15 and id is 163 raw text is: BRIT. J. CRIMINOL. Vol. 15 No. 2 APRIL 1975

PATHOLOGIES AMONG HOMICIDE OFFENDERS:
SOME CULTURAL PROFILES*
SIMHA F. LANDAU (Jerusalem) t
SiNCE the early days of criminology, homicide has been, and still is, one of
the most attractive topics for social scientists interested in criminal and
deviant behaviour. A great contribution to the scientific study of this phe-
nomenon was made by Wolfgang (1958) in his work on criminal homicide
in Philadelphia, the influence of which is seen in a number of studies pub-
lished since then (among them Jayewardene and Ranasinghe, 1963;
Pokorny, 1965; Voss and Hepburn, 1968, etc.).'
In a previous article on this topic (Landau, Drapkin and Arad, 1974) we
investigated several factors related to homicide victims and offenders in
Israel, namely, sex and ethnic origin of victim and offender, the victim-
offender relationship and motives involved in the criminal homicide. In that
study we analysed all the known and solved cases of criminal homicide per-
petuated in Israel between January I, 195o and December 3 1, 1964 (except
for cases caused by infiltrators from neighbouring Arab countries). 279
offenders and 311 victims were involved. The source of information was data
from police files and files of the prison service. Comparisons were made
between Oriental Jewish, Western Jewish and non-Jewish (mainly Arab)
offenders. The reason for these comparisons stemmed from our basic hypo-
thesis that the influence of cultural norms and traditions on behaviour will
be reflected in a clear way in the crime of homicide in Israel. This hypothesis
was strongly supported by our findings. Along all the variables, very striking
differences were found between offenders and victims of the three ethnic
groups.
The Study
The present study was conducted on the same population of offenders, using
the same sources of information as the previous one. The topics investigated
in this study include the type of homicide as well as the pathologies of the
offenders prior to their capital crime: type of first known disturbed or
deviant behaviour, previous physical illness or handicap, and hospitalisa-
tion for physical and mental disorders.
*This article presents some findings from a larger study on criminal homicide in Israel. The
project was supported in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation and is being conducted by the
Institute of Criminology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, in co-operation with Professor I. Drapkin.
An earlier version of this article was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of
Criminology, New York, November !973.
tPh.D., Lecturer and Assistant Director, Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law, Hebrew
University, Jerusalem. Previously Research Associate, The Center for Studies in Criminology and
Criminal Law, University of Pennsylvania. The author is indebted to Commander A. Shur, Head
of the Investigation Branch of the Israeli Police and Mr. A. Nir, Prison Commissioner and his staff
for their willing co-operation and assistance, without which this study would not have been possible.
Special thanks are due to S. Arad for his assistance in all stages of the research. Thanks are also due
to Mrs. Z. Peled for her assistance with the statistics and to B. Beth-Hallahmi, I. Elan and Miss I.
Fishman, who took part in the various stages of the study.
1 For an extensive bibliography see Wolfgang (1958) and Wolfgang and Ferracuti (r967).

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