What are the major assumptions of the classical theories of crime
What are the major assumptions of the classical theories of crime, and are these assumptions still a part of terminological thought today?
Examples will be helpful. Thank you.
The classical school of criminology was developed in the late eighteenth century by Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham. A lot of the principles and underlying assumptions were taken from the enlightenment. The underlying principles are basically five. They are:
1. Rationality: the first assumption is that individuals have free will and committing a crime is a choice. There is a thought beforehand the crime is committed.
2. Hedonism: Individuals seek pleasure and intend to avoid pain.
3. Punishment: Punishment involves pain and suffering. To avoid the pain of jail one may not commit a crime. Punishment is a deterrent to crime.
4. Human Rights: The punishment needs to be at par with the crime. torture and punishment are two different aspects and they cannot be intermingled.
5. Due Process: one cannot be punished before proven guilty.
The classical school has changed the scope and idea of punishment. Punishment in the form of correction and not pain are introduced by them. Punishment needs to be appropriate to the crime and it needs to deter people from committing crimes further. Thus the growth of prison is the result of the classical school of thought. It provides a rationale for criminal behaviour. Thus it is still relevant in justice system.