Clinical Criminology Introduction

The criminological exams of Antonio Conselheiro (1897) and Amilton Marante (2002)

Publicado em 10 Mar. 2016. Última atualização em 15 Mar. 2016


The students compared criminological exams from the end of XIX Century and the beginning of XXI Century with the goal of identifying similarities and differences in context, on the exam realization form and the collected information type. 


The activity goal is to oppose analytically two criminological exams performed in different periods of the Brazilian history.

1. Antonio Conselheiro, accomplished on 1987, at Bahia Medicine University (text format available at RODRIGUES, 1938)

2. Amilton Marante, accomplished on 2002, at the Franco da Rocha Penitentiary – SP State (report form only)

The exercise allows the student to identify the permanence of fundamental institutions practices in criminological theories that suffered several critics and theoretical reformulations. With the recommended reading, the activity introduces students to the debate on determinism and free will, and to Nina Rodrigues' thinking. 


- TEACHING METHOD: critical reading and debate.

- REQUIREMENTS: The students had as an obligate class reading, Nina Rodrigues’ text, A loucura epidêmica de Canudos, and a complementary reading, Lima Barreto’s text, O Cemitério dos Vivos.

- DEVELOPMENT OF THE DINAMICS: The students read in class two criminological exams, performed in different periods of the Brazilian history (attachment 1)

1. Antonio Conselheiro, accomplished on 1987, at Bahia Medicine University (text format available at RODRIGUES, 1938)

2. Amilton Marante, accomplished on 2002, at the Franco da Rocha Penitentiary – SP State (report form only)

After that, the students prepared, in the classroom, a document answering individually the following questions:

Part 1 – Exam description and contextualization.

1. Identify and write down, during the reading, the following information:

a. The place, date and general lines and moments in the Brazilian history that they happened.

b. Agencies information and professionals who signed or are mentioned on the exams.

c. A brief description about the fact that generates the arrest, and the realization of the exam.

i. When possible, the description should indicate the penal rule not considered for the examinee conduct.

ii. When possible, indicate in which part of the exam part the information about the fact are. Should they have a specific title or the exam authors talk about the fact in various parts?

Parte 2 – Content analysis.

1. Identify, in each exam, what is being evaluating exactly:

a. What are the individual aspects, from his life and surroundings that are mentioned in each exam?

b. What are the most relevant aspects from the report’s conclusion?

c. How are the conclusions presented and grounded?

d. What type of knowledge seems to be the preponderant role?

The criminological report records the perception of medical education for the purposes of criminal prosecution or enforcement proceedings, so that it is not a record or purely medical or purely legal. Therefore, this document is for students to realize the interface between medical and legal knowledge, since it is a record of the interaction of these two.. This way, students were encouraged to realize what aspects of functioning were mentioned in each of the exams, which of them seemed relevant to the completion of the report, how that information was presented, how conclusions were based and what kind of knowledge seemed to have a leading role.. From this it was possible to illustrate the dispute between determinism and relativism from the late 19th Century and realize how, at that historic moment, it was believed that the person was born already determined to behave in certain ways. Later, students were encouraged to discuss what has changed in the tests over time, which elements were added and what remains today. This exercise also prepared the student for the following modules of the course, since he could see that, although the theories fail, some institutional practices are still in use.

- END OF THE DYNAMICS: The professor gave feedback in the classroom and organized a debate using the answers from the students. 


- FEEDBACK FORM: The professor gave them feedback from their written exercises.

- GRADE EVALUATION: The activity composed the course exercise’s grade. The course grade was composed by 35% of exercises, 30% group work, 35% oral class participation. The last part was composed by (i) self-evaluation about the performance in the course (ii) professor indications using the highlights from the debates in the classroom. The highlights referred to the fundamental speech made from the class’ texts, and also to the connection establishment with the several readings and debates held on previous classes.

The written exercises evaluations could have “excellent”, “very good”, “good” and “do it again” parameters. In the last case, the student had the chance to make the exercise again until he achieved the objective asked previously. 


Complementary Bibliography:

RODRIGUES, Nina. As collectividades anormales. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1938.

RODRIGUES, Nina. Raças Humanas e Responsabilidade Penal no Brasil. (...), 1894.

PIMENTEL, Manoel Pedro. “Breves Notas para a História da Criminologia no Brasil” in Ciência Penal, 1979, ano V, no 2, p. 37-48.

PEDROSO, Regina Célia. Os signos da opressão. História e violência nas prisões brasileiras. Coleção Teses e Monografias, vol. 5. São Paulo: Imprensa Oficial do Estado, 2003.

SALLA, Fernando. As prisões em São Paulo: 1822-1940. São Paulo: FAPESP-Annablume, 1999.

Activity Details


Introduction to clinic criminology: criminological exams from Antonio Conselheiro (1897) and Amilton Marante (2002)



Concentration area: 

  • Criminology
  • Penal Law
  • Penal Execution
  • Penal Process

Discipline : 

Crime and Society


  • Undergraduate

Key words: 

  • Clinical Criminology
  • Brazilian penal law history
  • Criminological report
  • Determinism and free will
  • Relationship between medical and legal knowledge

Number of students: 

From 25 to 50

Time of application: 

01 hour and 45 minutes


Luiza Andrade Corrêa


Licença Creative Commons
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial-CompartilhaIgual 4.0 Internacional

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