Italian Positivism and Classical Criminology

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Access Criminology, Unit 1
‘Critically evaluate the assumptions and claims of early classical and Italian positivist criminology’. Aims and objective of this essay
During this essay I aim to critically evaluate the two schools of thinking, evaluate the assumptions and claims of early classical criminology and Italian positivist criminology. I am going to do this firstly by evaluating each school, Classical criminology and Italian positivist criminology and explaining the difference’s , strengths and weaknesses between both theory’s.

The school of classical criminology differs significantly from the thinking demonstrated under the positivist approach to crime. Classical criminology has its origins in the concepts of free will, individual decision-making and the benefits of society to the individual. The school addresses the problem of crime using punishment and deterrent actions. On the other hand, positivism rejects the concept of the individual and free will and instead embraces the idea of enduring evolutionary traits that define a basic criminal personality, and which can be assessed using scientific methods. The two perspectives, though very different (and even contradictory) in nature, both provide the basis for a cohesive overall approach to addressing the problem of crime as a wide variety of approaches are incorporated Classical School of criminology

Classical criminology refers to the idea that criminals act upon their own free will and decisions were based on ‘Hedonism’ (the pleasure plain principle). There are 2 names that appear most common when discussing classical criminology Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria. They were considered two of the most important enlightenment thinkers in this particular area. They both came from very different philosophical positions but sought after the same idea, to limit the barbarity of the 18th century systems of justice. It was Beccaria that implemented the idea of criminals acting upon free...
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