Essay on Classical School Of Criminological Thought

Essay on Classical School Of Criminological Thought

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Prior to the eighteenth century a wild array of scientific abnormalities had been defined as having a supernatural or religious origin. It was common to blame strange, lewd, or criminal actions as being caused by some other worldly demonic presence. People did this to alleviate themselves of guilt. The age of enlightenment, brought about a change in the way people viewed themselves and world around them. This period also brought about a change in the way people viewed criminal justice. Criminologists wanted to understand the nature of crime and why people committed it. Through observation, scientific research, and back room discussions several theories came about that led to the formation of the classical and positivist schools of Criminology. This paper will attempt to describe the doctrines that define each school of thought.
Classical School of Criminological Thought
Criminologists of the classical school of thought propose that “individuals have free will and choose to commit crimes based on rational, hedonistic decisions; they weigh out the potential costs and benefits of offending then choose what will maximize their pleaser and minimize their pain” (Tibbetts & Hemmens, 2010, p. 5). The classical school of thought focuses on free will as the guiding force behind why people commit crime. Under this theory human beings are all deemed to be free thinking spirits and a bit hedonistic. In order to study and observe the causes of crime the classical theory suggests that criminologist should follow a path of analytic detachment.
Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding, esq. (1707-1754) a magistrate at the Bow Street Court in London was possibly the first criminologist to publish his theories on crime. Fielding wanted to understand the cau...

... middle of paper ...

... more research would need to be done to validate his theories. (Mutchnick, Martin, Austin, 2009, p.29). There has been little evidence over the years to prove that DNA can truly be used determine and group offenders. However, the positivist approach has led to the formation of probation and parole programs and targeting individualized treatment to the needs of the offender.

1.) Vito, G., & Holmes, R. (1994). Criminology: Theory, research, and policy. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub.
2.) Tibbetts, S., & Hemmens, C. (2010). Criminological theory: A text/reader. Los Angeles: SAGE.
3.) Walsh, A. (2012). Criminology: The essentials. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
4.) Mutchnick, R., Martin, R., & Austin, W. (2009). Chapter 2 Cesare Lombroso: 1835-1909. In Criminological thought: Pioneers past and present (pp. 18-31). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

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