INTRODUCING THE CRIMINAL
Let no one believe that these are questions which should not stir a nation: that they are below the dignity of statesmen or governments. -- HOOVER
Criminals are human beings much like the rest of us. They move about from place to place: they play and work more or less; they laugh, and mourn and are otherwise moved emotionally as we are; they form personal attachments to persons, things, and places as we do; just as we are, so are they eager for the approval of those with whom they associate, and are cast down when they fail to secure it. They are ambitious "for a place in the sun": the "sun" being the circle of those who are, in general, seeking the same type of satisfactions that they desire for themselves. They think, learn, and forget as we do; and finally in respect to their physical make-up they resemble our neighbors in our city block. Moreover in all these respects they differ among themselves much as the members of our club differ among themselves.
These are observations such as a casual observer might make. And for these reasons it is impossible to bring forward any one person (or even a half dozen) and to introduce him as a criminal with any reasonable expectation that after seeing him and talking with him the observer would next day recognize another criminal if he should chance to meet him and talk with him. The recognition of the criminal character is not so simple as that.
We quote below, nevertheless, abstracts from several case histories1 that afford glimpses into a few of the personal characteristics of as many boys and youths who became criminals. The last two in this short list are what may be described as "professional" criminals -- at any rate toward the end of their recorded careers: "professional" in much the same sense that one of us is "professional." After a long period of preparation they were living exclusively upon what they could gain as a result of their training.____________________