Classical Theory Of Criminology Essay

1669 words - 7 pages

Criminology is the study of why individuals engage or commit crimes and the reasons as to why they behave in certain ways in different situations (Hagan, 2010). Through understanding the reasons or why an individual commits a crime, one can come up with ways to prevent and control crime or rehabilitate criminals. There exist a large number of criminology theories, some link crime to an individual or person; they believe a person weighs the cons and pros and makes a conscious decision on whether to commit or not commit a felony. Others see the society as having a duty to make sure that its members do not engage in criminal acts by providing a secure and safe living place. Some claim that some people have hidden or dormant characteristics that determine their reaction or behavior when confronted or put in particular negative conditions (Akers & Sellers, 2012). By understanding and studying these theories, together with applying them to people, psychologists and authorities can prevent criminals from committing or repeating crimes and aid in their rehabilitation. As many theories have emerged over time, they continue to be surveyed and explored, both individually and in combination in order for criminologists to develop solutions and eventually reduce the levels and types of crime. The most popular criminology theories emphasize on the individual, positivist and classical traits. This paper will explore the classical theory, which is among the earliest theories in criminology.
Classical criminology theory is a legal systems approach, which emerged in the 1700s age of enlightenment. Various philosophers like John Locke, Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria expanded upon the theory of the social contract to explain the reasons as to why people commit offenses, and interventions through which communities can combat crime effectively. The basic foundation of this theory is the believe that people commit crime or engage in illegal activities when they view the benefits of committing a crime as being greater than the possible costs or punishments (Hagan, 2010). According to this theory, the rational remedy for preventing crimes would be establishing harsher punishments or sentences for committing crimes. Cesare Beccaria is considered to be the classical theory founder. His concept even in today’s world continues to play a significant role in many countries legal systems, however, this approach happens to be more flexible in the modern world.
Cesare Beccaria theory emerged as a result of a reaction against the barbaric system of justice, punishment and law present before 1789. It mainly emphasized on human rationality and free will (Beccaria, 1986). The classical criminology theory was not concerned in studying and understanding criminals, but concentrated on legal processing and law making. According to the theory, crime was believed to be an activity engaged or committed out of free will and that criminals weighed their actions consequences. Punishment...

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