"On Crime and Punishments" by Cesare Beccaria.

Essay by chellebabe1971 June 2003

download word file, 1 pages 4.0

Cesare Beccaria wrote is book 'On Crime and Punishments' in 1974, he believed that there was a great need for reform in the criminal justice system and he observed how few studies there were on the subject. His work I based on two key philosophical theories: social contract and utility.

Social contract: Beccaria argues that punishment is justified only to defend the social contract and to ensure that everyone will be motivated to abide by it.

Utility:the method of punishment selected should be that which serves the greatest public good.

He believed that justice should be swift has it is a deterrence and the purpose of punishment is to create a better society and not revenge so her prefers the utilitarian approach.

Beccaria touches on an array of criminal justice practices that recommend reform.

1. Laws on duelling - eliminated of laws protect a person from insult and protects his honour.

2.Laws on suicide - ineffective and should be eliminated, punishment offered by God.

3.Bounty Hunting - not permitted, incites immorality

4.Treason - worst crime, harms social contract

5.Violence against a person or property

6.Public disruption

He argues that laws should be clear in defining its crimes so that judges do not interpret the law but only decide if a law has been broken.

Punishment should fit the crime in severity. The best way to prevent crime is to make laws clear and simple, offer reward and improve education.

Cesare Beccaria on capital punishment, he believed that long term imprisonment was more beneficiary and a better deterrent. He disagreed with Locke's opinion on a person forfeiting his right to life when they initiate a state of war on other people. He argued that capital punishment is only justified if it suits the purpose or is...