The And The Dark Figure Of Crime Essay

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For hundreds of years society has sought a theory of criminality with which to strike back against the dark figure of crime. Theories of crime have always been heavily tinted by the social climate in which they were created. For example, until the 18th century Western European criminological thought was firmly rooted in Christianity, which considered crime the work of the Devil. Punishments were meted out not based on the merit of one 's actions, but to turn away the evil and reinforce order in a community. With the dawn of the Enlightment and the parting of the philosophical clouds a cast of venerable philosophers and scientists arrived to begin imparting their insights to the growing intellectual community. Men like Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham embraced humanist principles that declared all men equal, rational actors with the ability to make logical choices of their own free will. Thus Classical School criminologists advocated punishments that were rational, logical, and proportionate to the crime so as to outweigh its benefits and deter other rational actors from committing the same prohibited act. Early 20th century criminology was heavily influenced by Darwin 's Theory of Evolution and Herbert Spencer 's derivative philosophy of Social Darwinism. Criminologists of the Social Darwinism era were men like Cesare Lombroso, who used the pseudo-scientific principles of Atavism to promote his theory that criminality can be traced to genetic and physiological traits like
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