Classical Criminology (Beccaria)

Essay by djh1986College, UndergraduateA+, March 2008

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Many people in the United States believe that the current system of punishment is effective. However, Cesare Beccaria would disagree with most of the current system of punishment in the United States. The current system cannot use all of the views that Beccaria had because they do not fit into our society.

The current system of punishment in the United States is considered by many people to be effective. Everyone has the right to due process and a fair and speedy trial which could be a big reason why people believe it is effective. The main occasion when punishment in the United States is certain is when mandatory minimums are used. However, mandatory minimums are only used in certain types of cases. Another aspect the United States punishment system is that capital punishment is only used for serious crimes such as murder. The current system of punishment has not been shown to be effective when it comes to deterring crime.

Studies that have been done have not shown any significant drops in crime no matter how punishments have changed.

Cesare Beccaria is considered by many to be the father of modern criminology. One of his biggest developments was his criteria for effective punishments. In 1764 he wrote On Crimes and Punishment, which has his thoughts about how to punish criminals. In this book he argued against torture to obtain confessions, secret accusations, and excessive power of judges. A few other things he argues against are inconsistency and inequality in sentencing and the use of capital punishment for serious and minor offenses. Beccaria believed there were only two reasons to punish people; retribution (eye for an eye) and utilitarianism, which includes reforming criminals, incapacitation, deterring others and increasing happiness in the world. Beccaria's overall view on punishment was that punishment...