Classical Theory of Criminology

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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 wh...

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...crime according to the classical theory is the harm it impacts on the society. In his theory, Cesare argues that it would be erratic and illogical if the measure of crimes were to be based on the intentions of the individuals who commit them (Beccaria, 1986). These intentions depend on individuals’ state of mind and the actual impression that objects make this vary from one person to according to changes in ideas, circumstances and passions. It is, therefore, important to formulate a particular code for each and laws for different crimes.


Works Cited

Akers, R. L., & Sellers, C. S. (2012). Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation, and Application. Oxford University Press.
Beccaria, C. (1986). On Crimes and Punishments. Hackett Pub Co.
Hagan, F. E. (2010). Introduction to Criminology: Theories, Methods, and Criminal Behavior. SAGE Publications, Inc.
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