Public Offender Units
REHB3062 Public Offenders Criminality and Rehab.
REHB5068 Public Offenders and rehabilitation
Module 1 topic 2
1. Classical Criminal Theory
2. Rational Choice or Displacement theory
Traditional Classical Theory
For an introduction to traditional classical theory see chapter 1 by Piers Beirne in Cornish and Clarke. This approach founded by the Famous 18th/19th century criminologist/scientist Cesare Beccaria is that which underlies our common understanding of criminality and philosophically underpins the development of the criminal law (which is based on free choice, the notion that people have the ability to freely choose or not choose to commit a crime). Classical theory includes a number of related approaches - classical theory, neoclassical theory and the more recent version of these approaches referred to as Rational Choice Theory. http://www.julianhermida.com/crimclassical.htm
Classical Theory (Liberal Theory) and Neo classical Theory: Classical theory espouses the following principles of human behaviour in general: • The notion that all human beings possess the ability to make choices and decisions about their own actions. People are aware of what is right and what is wrong – thus the emphasis on the importance of reason in understanding human behaviour. • The law presumes that those who commit crime choose to do so, with the knowledge that they are so acting to commit a crime. Crime involves choice, the weighing up the advantages/disadvantages of an action. • The punishment for breaking the law must fit the crime. "An eye for an eye... "). The more heinous the crime the more severe the punishment. • It is accepted by some of classical theorists that some human beings are (all the time or intermittently) less rational than others. Thus a crime committed by a "less" responsible/less rational is less guided by reason (the knowledge...
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