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The Three Schools of Criminology, Essay Example

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Introduction

Crime is an illegal action that is punishable in every country. Criminological theories are important criminology elements because they examine why people commit crimes and how they should be punished. The following are various schools of criminology:

Classical School

This school was founded in the early 1800s during the enlightenment to respond to cruel and excessive crime punishments. It was founded by Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham, who argued that the death penalty is inappropriate and proposed more humanitarian forms of punishment. They believed that each punishment should not be excessive and instead fit the crime (Thilakarathna, 2019). This theory’s primary premise is the fundamental equity and equality of all people; hence, every individual should be treated equally without discrimination based on race, gender, and age. Another premise of this school is that it is better to prevent crimes than to punish criminals. Criminal behaviors are punishable, and everyone should be aware of which conduct or misbehavior requires punishment.

This school of criminology is guided by several theories. First is the rational choice theory, which focuses on the fact that criminals will consider what they will gain from a crime than the risk associated with it. The other theory is the deterrence theory that proposes that people are bound to make a sane decision on the course of their actions. Last is the utilitarianism theory, which asserts that people get into crime due to the desire to convert their pains into pleasure.

Positivist School

This school was founded by Cesare Lombroso but led by Enrico Ferri and Raffaele Garofalo. They opposed classical school’s take on crime and attempted to find a scientific approach to quantification and measurement of crime. They argued that all people are different; hence they vary in how they perceive and understand right and wrong behaviors (Frampton, 2013). Therefore, a person should be punished and not a crime. This school is premised on causality, objectivity, and measurement of crime and mainly focuses on individual contributions to criminology and the criminal justice system.

This school is guided by biological, individual, and sociological positivism theories. Biological positivism deals focus on whether the criminals were born or made by certain factors. Individual positivism states that individuals commit crimes due to their abnormality, temperaments, and personality. Sociological positivism states that crimes are caused by dysfunctional in the social structures, and crimes vary depending on the region.

A Neo-Classical School

Cesare Beccaria founded it. It emerged to provide solutions to problems created by classical school. Classism dealt with acts of crime and ignored the differences that existed between criminals (Vito et al., 2015). Therefore, neo-classists accounted for those challenges and allowed mitigating conditions by looking at the social and physical environment where a person was placed. This theory assumes that individuals make rational choices before committing a crime. For instance, if a crime is a low risk, but the reward is high, offenders will be highly motivated to commit a crime. The premises for this school are human rationality and free will. It ignores factors such as poverty, blocked opportunities, and oppression.

The theories under this school include the drift theory, which implies that crimes are committed due to frustrations and rebelliousness, which made people choose crimes. Another theory is the social control theory, which states that as people socialize and learn, they become inclined to take part in certain behaviors, including crime. Lastly is the rational choice theory, which implies that people will make choices to fulfill their expectations and gain maximum utility.

Conclusion

In conclusion, all the theorists have rejected the concepts of individual preferences and social pathology and instead examine deviance to crime and provided solutions thereof. Each theorist believes in his own school of thought hence opposing other theories.

References

Frampton, T. W. (2013). Predisposition and Positivism: The Forgotten Foundations of the Entrapment Doctrine. J. Crim. L. & Criminology103, 111.

Thilakarathna, K. A. A. N. (2019). Classical School of Criminology and Its Application in the Sri Lankan Criminal Justice System. US-China L. Rev.16, 271.

Vito, G. F., & Maahs, J. R. (2015). Criminology. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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