The aim of this article is to briefly retrace the history of criminal identification techniques in Italy in order to shed new light on the legacy of criminal anthropology in policing and criminal justice in the delicate transition from liberal Italy to the Fascist regime. While identification techniques invented by Alphonse Bertillon in France spread to many countries, their deployment in Italy was different, being strongly influenced by Lombroso’s concept of ‘criminal man’. The ‘Italian method’ was introduced thanks to the efforts of Salvatore Ottolenghi (1861-1934), a pupil of Cesare Lombroso and founder of the Italian scientific police (polizia scientifica). This was the birth of the so-called “Ottolenghi method”, used, especially during the Fascist regime, to identify not only criminals but also subversives, enemies of social order and any suspicious individuals.
1. INTRODUCTION.—2. FROM THE CRIMINAL MAN TO THE CRIMINAL WORLD.— 3. THE SCIENTIFIC POLICE AND THE ‘OTTOLENGHI METHOD’.—4. IDENTIFYING THE ENEMY: TOWARDS THE FASCIST REGIME.—5. CONCLUSION
Lecturer of History of Medieval and Modern Law. University of Teramo
Italian-Spanish Review of Procedural Law