The Classical School Of Thought

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As early as the 18th century, theorists have hypothesized the reasons behind criminal behavior. Theorists during the Enlightenment Period dismissed the preconceived notions that deviant behavior was the result of supernatural causes and ushered in an era that highlighted criminality as a rational choice decided by a person’s own free will. The idea of rational choice led to the development of the Classical school of thought, which sought to deter and prevent crime by making the fear of punishment worse than the gratification attained from crime. However, while free will and rational choice sought to explain criminality, other theorists began to consider that some individuals are biologically predisposed to criminal behavior.
The development of the Classical School of thought in Criminology was a direct result of the Enlightenment period, which occurred in the eighteenth century (Schmalleger, 2014). The movement was the first of its kind that applied rational thought and scientific processes to dispel the old ideas that crimes were the result of superstitious beliefs. The Classical School of thought based its premise that crimes are committed through a person’s own free will and that punishments should be about preventing future crimes from being committed as long as the punishment is carried out without delay and is appropriate and in proportion to the crime committed (Fuller, 2012). Cesare Beccaria, one of the most influential figures of the Classical School claimed
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