The Development Of Criminology

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Development and Early Approaches of Criminology

This essay will examine the early approaches of criminology which aided in its development using the theories of Beccaria (theory of freewill) and Lombroso (biological theory), and will compare the arguments for rehabilitation and for treatment. An answer to what Criminology could be is that it is the scientific/theoretical study of crime and criminals which incorporates into its study both individuals, society and organisations. Criminology came about at the end of the 1700s from society’s need to understand crime in the social world. The purpose of Criminology is to give us an insight into the criminal mind/world. Criminology incorporates other social sciences such as psychology, history
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This early period of criminology was called classical criminology. The age of Classical Criminology came about in the 1700s because of the need to counteract the cruel forms of punishment which was prevalent for those times. In times before the classical period of criminology, anyone despite being of unsound mind could be convicted and receive capital or torturous punishment. “Classicalism was based on free will and rational choice” (Tim Newburn, 2007, pg114). This brought about the idea that criminals/offenders would receive equivalent punishment to the level of their offence, due to the fact that the criminals/offenders were acting upon their own free will (their own ability to act upon their own discretion). During the 18th century there were numerous campaigns by varied thinkers that forwarded the need for individual rights and a fairer justice system to be put in place. The risings that took place at this time such as the American and French revolutions kickstarted the creation of “new institutions in which political decisions were made” (Tim Newburn, 2007, pg…show more content…
The theory of free will is largely seen in the classical period of criminology which started in the 18th century, which was used by Beccaria. Whereas the opposite theory was of treatment of criminals (biological theory) which was used by Lombroso in the 19th century. The two different theories resulted in a clash of views and saw the need for the nurture versus nature argument in criminology as rehabilitation focused on the idea that criminals were responsible for their crimes as they had choice of free will whilst treatment focused on the idea that criminals were born of criminal nature and therefore were biologically prone to commit crimes which they would need medical treatment in order to keep their instincts
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