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Classicist and Positivist Criminology

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Submitted By natnk
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Compare and contrast classicist and positivist criminology.
Classical Criminology was developed in late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. One of the finding fathers of this approach was the Italian philosopher Cesare Baccaria. In 1764, Baccaria published his work On Crime and Punishment in which he protested against often cruel and harsh punishments, based upon the infliction of pain and suffering and appears to propose introduction of new legal system which will be reasonably fair and transparent. Classical criminology suggested that all humans are rational beings and their actions can be understood as “freewill” and crime can be regarded as an irrational judgement. Classicism assumes that people weigh up the cost and benefits of their crimes before they commit them. The focus of classical criminology was based only on the offence not on the individual, all people were treated as alike, judging seriousness of a crime was based on the act alone, and not on intentions or other factors which may influence the individual to commit the crime, for example; first-time offenders were treated the same as serial recidivist.
Positivism was emerged in the early nineteenth century. However, it is widely assumed that scientific criminology began when Italian physician Cesare Lombroso published his work The Criminal Man in 1876. Lombroso studied the body shapes of executed criminals, he believed that particular bodily differences, for example skull size could identify and predict propensity to crime and on this study he attempted to prove scientifically physical differences between criminal and non-criminal.
Positivism links to biological, psychological and sociological studies which attempt to identify key causes of crime, by using scientific research method. The main causes of crime according to positivists lie largely outside of each individual’s control, whether...

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