Classical Criminology Theory

Essay by pdagostiUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2005

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What is the classical school of criminology and what are the main points of this theory. Cesare Beccaria was a key thinker of this theory and is also considered by some the founder of modern criminology. Classical school of criminology theory placed emphasis on human rationality and free will. Second off this theory unlike the others researched the prevention of crime not the criminals. Also, according to this theory, crime was the result of people choosing to do so with the possibility of the consequences be evident. The classical theory of Beccaria and others is what our constitution was based upon so as you can see, it has great significance to our society.

Humans are believed to act in their own best interests. We have our own free will and we also have a rational side to us. This was the basis of the classical criminology theory. Being the case, this theory emphasized laws that would stress non criminal actions would be in the best interest of society.

Punishment and deterrence was an important factor in this theory because the punishment had to reinforce deterrence so people could rationalize the self benefits of criminality from the consequences of criminality.

Due to the fact that Beccaria believed that bad laws led to criminality, a lot of his emphasis was based on preventing crime and swift punishment when crime was committed. In his eyes punishment is justified only to defend the peace of society and that society would be motivated to abide by it. This meant that punishment was to treat the criminal, incapacitate them from repeating criminal acts and deter would be criminals. To incorporate these ideas Beccaria believed that punishment should be swift, certain, deterrence, proportional to the crime, clear and based on positive and negative reinforcement. Swift punishment is...