Introduction to Criminology
16 October 2012
Compare and Contrast Essay: Classical & Neoclassical Criminology School
In the Classical criminology theory it is the theoretical study of Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria. The classical school of Criminology is a set of ideas that focuses on deterrence. It considers crime to be the result of offenders’ free will. This was an approach to the legal system that arose during the enlightenment in the 1700’s. In which both expanded upon the social contract theory to explain why people commit crimes, and how societies can effectively combat crimes. Bentham was the founder of English Utilitarianism. He thought that human beings are hedonistic and act only in their own self-interest. Utilitarianism also considered rational courses of actions when people pursue their own interests. However, classical thinkers aimed to make life easier for criminal offenders. The school sought to reduce crime through reform to the criminal punishment system. Which they felt tended to be cruel and excessive without reason, as well as, an ineffective deterrent. The Classical school of criminology argued that the most effective deterrent for criminal behavior would be swift punishment rather than long trials. Classical crime theory completely concentrated on the criminal act. Positivist crime theory concentrated on the perpetrator. As for Neoclassical criminology it emphasizes free will and deterrence. It acknowledges some of the effects of positivism on decision making. It sought to improve the stances towards perpetrators, who should have an impact on the level of guilt and severity of punishment. However it revives some of the principles of classical theory, which argues that people choose their behaviors based upon perceived outcomes with the goal of maximizing their gain. While minimizing the resources and output necessary to achieve their goal. So this perception is key, as to how...