The Classical School of Criminology and the Positive School of Criminology are two of the main theories that try and explain the behavior of delinquents. The Classical School of Criminology was developed in the late 1700s by Cesare Beccaria. Classical theorists were trying to decrease punishment and obtain equal justice for all.
"According to Beccaria and Jeremy Bantham, and English philospther, human nature is characterized by three central features: 1) People are not bound by original sin but have freedom of choice; 2) people are rational and are capable of using reason to govern their lives; and 3) people are motivated to pursue their own self-interests at the expense of others." (Empey pg. 113) They believed that people are reasonable and free and due to this in a democratic society people would refrain from crime and preserve the social order.
Classical theorists felt that people did not need to be killed for a serious crime. They felt like no person needed to be beheaded or disemboweled. They felt as though people would not commit crimes if the punishment was certain and swift.
In the 1800s the classical school was eroding due to the development of the Positive School of Criminology. Ironically this school was a product of Enlightenment philosophy much like the classical school. Classical theorists joined Enlightenment philosophers to change the Western legal systems of the 1700s, and the positive school reflected Enlightenment philosophers' emphasis on seeking knowledge and using it to accelerate human progress.
"Between the emergence of the classical school of criminology in the late 1700s and the emergence of the positive school in the late 1800s, there was a marked "shift in thinking that is of such magnitude that it can well be described as an intellectual revolution." (Empey pg. 114) Once juvenile court was finally established in the 1900s, other beliefs were dominating criminology:
· Empirical documentation....
References: Empey, LaMar T et al. American Delinquency.1999 Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Faculty.Classical and Positive Schools. faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/301/301lect02.htm
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