Criminology seeks to understand the criminals' genetic makeup, to learn whether there is an inherited tendency to crime. It also takes into consideration such issues as the individuals socioeconomic background, family background, educational opportunities, and childhood associations. Early criminologists, of the late 18th century, believed that everyone had the ability to make rational choices. Therefore, their theory was that if a rational person knew that a particularly painful punishment was in-store for them, they would not commit the crime. This led to the creation of such punishments as beatings, torture, banishment, death, fines, and public humiliation.
The best theory to answer each question would be the Classical Theory of crime. The Classical Theory simply states that any individual who breaks the law does so in free will while understanding the effects. Classical theorists believed "the more swift, and certain the punishment, the more effective it would be." Classical Theorists aided in the influence and shaping of the United States Criminal Justice system. Many classical school philosophers based their arguments around the theory.
Whereas classicism concentrated on the offence and the free will of the offender, positivism concentrated on the offender and the fact that their behaviour was determined because of biological and psychological influences (Newburn, 2013). Furthermore, positivism responded to crime by seeing it as an illness that needed to be treated, a stark contrast to classicism’s promotion on punishment. Positivism branches off into three types of theory - psychological, sociological and biological. Outlined, the psychological theory looks at internal factors such as learned behaviour and criminal personality. The sociological theory takes into account culture, society and certain agents of socialisation (Burke,
Criminology is the scientific study of why people commit crime and why they act the way they do. The origins of criminology are usually placed in the eighteenth to the mid- nineteenth century. This was also a point of scientific discoveries and the creation of the new scholarly field of studies. One of these was criminology. Criminology was an act against the wild system of law, punishment, and justice that existed before the French revolution.
It is important, therefore, for criminologists to create an understanding to members of the society regarding the root cause of crime and what dictates the behaviour of individuals who are considered to be criminals (Tierney 2009). Criminology has often been defined as a field of study where scholars from different disciplines in the society come together to find answers to problems identified in the society. Sociological approaches, however, have influenced theoretical conclusions in criminology. That however has not limited other factors like biological factors as explained by Walsh (2000) and Wright and Boisvert (2009). Psychological theories in criminology have also determined a given level of perception developed by the society states Durrant and Ward (2012).
The Classical School of Criminology generally refers to the work of social contract and utilitarian philosophers Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham during the enlightenment in the 18th century. The contributions of these philosophers regarding punishment still influence modern corrections today. The Classical School of Criminology advocated for better methods of punishment and the reform of criminal behaviour. The belief was that for a criminal justice system to be effective, punishment must be certain, swift and in proportion to the crime committed. The focus was on the crime itself and not the individual criminal (Cullen & Wilcox, 2010).
The Classical School was developed between the 1700- 1800 in which criminologist gave their point of view. The Classical School had ties to the enlightenment period, and crime was a result of free will and people making their own choices. This is based on the calculations of the cost and benefits. The incident of crime can be reduced through effective punishment. The way is through when it yields the rewards to be derived from crime commission.
The classical school of criminology which was originally developed in the eighteenth century still has power in the crime prevention which is utilized in our criminal justice system in the United States today (Siegel, 2011). In fact, utilizing the very principles of the classical school of criminology lays the groundwork, in some ways, to how we prevent crime today. The components of the classical school of criminology are that people have free will, crime can be attractive, crime can possibly be controlled when there is a fear of punishment, and that punishment which is “severe, certain, and swift” will deter criminal behavior more than punishment which is not (Siegel, 2011, p. 9, para. 1). The specific deterrence basically states that
Secondly, Positivism theory explores the biological, psychological and environment understanding of what causes the crime, thus having a different understand and method into solving and eliminating crime. By looking at these overarching theories, we can come to understand how they both are beneficial and incorporated into the laws within our society, however does now have the power to rid it of crime. Classical theory explores the idea that crime is the intent to commit, rather than a reaction to an unfavorable situation. This theory believes that a committed crime was intended to gain ‘self-seeking and self interest’ and because of this belief this theory believe that the criminals have to take full responsibility of there actions. Two known advocates of Classical theories are Cesane Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham.
Fourth, criminals of passion are those motivated to commit crime because of anger, love or honor. Beccaria published one essay, On Crimes and Punishments, in this essay, he wrote that criminal behavior could be minimized using the basics of human nature. He argued that the current barbaric system of punishing criminals needed to be reformed into a less harsh, yet more effective one. He states the essence of his ideas, “In order for punishment not to be, in every instance, an act of violence of one or of many against a private citizen, it must be essentially public, prompt, necessary, the least possible in the given circumstances, proportionate to the crime, dictated by the laws” (Constituation