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68 Colum. L. Rev. 1425 (1968)
Codification of Criminal Law in the United States: The Model Penal Code

handle is hein.journals/clr68 and id is 1453 raw text is: COLUMBIA LAW REVIEW
Vol. 68                       DECEMBER 1968                                 No. 8
CODIFICATION OF CRIMINAL LAW IN
THE UNITED STATES: THE
MODEL PENAL CODE*
HERBERT WECHSLER**
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Background of the Code   ............................................... 1425
II. Plan and Scope of the Code   ........................................... 1428
III. The Code Position on Some Basic Issues    .............................. 1431
A. The Purposes of Criminal Sanctions     .............................. 1432
B. The Requirements of Justice    ...................................... 1434
1.  M ens  Rea  .....................................................  1435
2.  Strict  Liability  ................................................  1439
3.  Intoxication  ...................................................  1440
4.  Responsibility  .................................................  1441
The Definition of Specific Crimes: Problems of Coverage and Grading  1444
1.  H omicide  .....................................................  1445
2.  Reckless  Endangering  .........................................  1447
3.  Property  Destruction  ..........................................  1448
4. Burglary and Kidnapping    ...................................... 1448
5.  Theft  .........................................................  1448
6. Sexual Offenses and Abortion   .................................. 1449
7. Support for Police Intervention  ................................. 1449
D. The Sentencing and Treatment of Offenders     ....................... 1450
1. Foregoing Sentence of Imprisonment; Probation    ................ 1450
2. The Nature and Duration of Prison Sentences    .................. 1452
3. Special and Extended Terms    ................................... 1453
4. First Release on Parole and the Parole Term   ................... 1454
5. Criteria for First Release  ...................................... 1455
I. BACKGROUND OF THE CODE
The American Law Institute, organized in 1923 by a distinguished group
of judges, lawyers and law teachers, is a permanent organization devoted to
the clarification and improvement of the law. When the Institute was orga-
nized it was expected that substantive criminal law would be an object of im-
mediate attention. The first proposal, to proceed with a restatement of the
subject, foundered quickly on the difficulty that the subject was too largely
* This article constitutes the substance of a report presented by Professor Herbert
Wechsler to the Third National Conference on Research and Teaching in Criminology
(July 3-7, 1968) Section 1: Codification, organized under the auspices of the Cambridge
Institute of Criminology. Together with other papers relating to codification it will
shortly appear as Volume 27 of the CAMBRIDGE STUDES IN CRIMINOLOGY published by
Heineman under the editorship of Professor Leon Radzinowicz.
** Harlan Fiske Stone Professor of Constitutional Law, Columbia University;
Director, The American Law Institute and Chief Reporter for the Model Penal Code;
LL.B., Columbia University, 1931.

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