Classical and Positive School of Criminology Essay

1020 Words Nov 21st, 2005 5 Pages
The Classical School of Criminology and the Positive School of Criminology are two of the main theories that try and explain the behavior of delinquents. The Classical School of Criminology was developed in the late 1700s by Cesare Beccaria. Classical theorists were trying to decrease punishment and obtain equal justice for all.

"According to Beccaria and Jeremy Bantham, and English philospther, human nature is characterized by three central features: 1) People are not bound by original sin but have freedom of choice; 2) people are rational and are capable of using reason to govern their lives; and 3) people are motivated to pursue their own self-interests at the expense of others." (Empey pg. 113) They believed that people are
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Despite the plausibility of callsical theories, they could be false. If they could not be supported by empirical evidence, other theories must be sought. The job of criminologists was to formulate and test theories of crime and crime control.

· The doctrine of determinism. Postivists also argued that crime, like any other phenomenon, is determined by prior causes; it doesn't just happen. The emphasis of the classical school on reason and free will, they said, is too simplistic. People are not always free to do as they wish. Much, if not all, of their behavior is determined by biological, psychological, and social forces over which the have little personal control. Because certain laws govern the operation of theos forces, another job of criminologists was to discober the laws about crime.

· Value neutrality. Positvists argued, in addition, that there is a need to be neutral about societal values. Although politicians, citizens, and criminal justice officials had to be concerned with implementing policies that are consistent with prevailing values, criminologists ere to be concerned primarily with trying to understand why people violate the law and the effects of alternatibe crime control policies. This is not to say that criminologists couldn't espouse certain values in their roles as ordinary citizens. But as scientists, the were to confine themselves to "facts" based on objective evidence. (Empey pg. 114,115)

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