Definition of penology in English:



  • [mass noun] The study of the punishment of crime and of prison management.

    • ‘He contributed ideas on education, political economy, psychology, penology, law, history, and political theory, which he set out in five books and over 1,000 essays.’
    • ‘With penology and prisons came the idea of rehabilitation, again somewhat inappropriate given the difference in civilian and military perceptions of undesirable character traits.’
    • ‘‘The history of penology,’ he went on, ‘is the saddest chapter in the history of civilization.’’
    • ‘Such an epistemological approach to crime and penology is undoubtedly one of the study's major strengths.’
    • ‘Over the course of the 20th century the practice of penology has witnessed a fierce struggle between proponents of punishment and proponents of rehabilitation.’


Mid 19th century: from Latin poena penalty + -logy.