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Crime is an ongoing process which occurs on a daily bases. Some more what crime is more intentional than others, these occur due to the personal free will or due to factors that they cannot be control. Throughout this essay we will be looking at 2 main approaches which lead people to do crime which are stated below, not only this but I will be Critically discussing the differences between classical approach and positivist approach in understandings of crime and offending with reference to key ideas and theorists.In order for me to start critically discussing the difference between these two approaches we must distinguish what they are, and what they mean.
First let talk about the classical approach, this approach was developed in the mid 18th century by a theorist name Cesare Beccaria who argue that "People have free will to choose how to act. Punishment (of sufficient severity) can deter people from crime, as the costs (penalties) outweigh benefits, and that severity of punishment should fit the severity of the crime" states (Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 18, 2010), so what this simply means is that people have the right to do whatever they want to, but if a crime is committed then the judge should punish that individual at the level of crime that has been committed. The classical approach was developed in the mid 18th century; the main concept of this school was looking at people who commit crime due to their free will.
The particular concept was driven by two major factor, one which is psychological hedonism (The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010) states that "Psychological hedonism is the view that humans are psychologically constructed in such a way that we exclusively desire pleasure" this simply means that the action and activities we do daily we do it for our own pleasure. Relating this back to crime, the hedonism factor in classical crime suggests that we perform or act out a crime for our own pleasure.
Second factor is rational choice. (See, 2004) Suggests that "rational choice theory" go hand in hand with the classical approach, (See, 2004) also states that "this is the 1980s formulation of classical criminology" (p.8), also stating that classical criminology refers to a "belief that a crime is committed after an individual weighs the pros and cons. The decision to commit a crime is a rational decision, and is best countered through a deterrence-based system" (See, 2004, p.7) .Simply meaning that we human have made a choice to commit crime of our free will. There were many key concepts behind this theory and they are as followed: A. the main purpose of designing the classical school was to provide rational, logical alternative rather than abusive and arbitrary system of justice. B. classical perspective was the back bone of the criminal justice system when the classical theory was introduced. C. mainly focuses perspective of choice. The assumption is that people have the ability to think for themselves and make a choice, if that individual wants to follow the law or to disobey it. This theory is based on the center of choice. People have the ability to commit criminal offences, and it implies that people should make better choices. (DeMelo, 1999), (p.7) explains that's "Becceria thought that crime could be traced to bad laws, not to bad people. A new modern criminal justice system would be needed to guarantee equal treatment of all people before the law". This means that if an individual was to commit a crime than the punishment or the consequence after the crime, should be the level of damage that the individual has coursed, example: if a person was to go through a red light than the level of punishment would be $ amount of fines, but if someone was to kill someone than the level of punishment should not be equal to the crime occurred at the light, instead should be more savior like time in prison.
Some of the defining features of the classical school in criminology include:
Everyone has the right to do whatever they want.
All behavior is guided by hedonism (pleasure/pain calculation).
Mostly all crime is triggered by free will and hedonism.
All consequences should fit the level of crime which is committed.
Bad set of laws equals bad people.
Distinguishing the second method which is the positivist approach, The Positivist School presumes that criminal behavior is caused by factors outside of the individual's control. These factors can be anything from environment to role models from parents or other family members. The positivist approach had three major category biological, physiological, and social all these have an influences on the individual committing the crime.
DeMelo, 1999, (p.8) explains that "Lombroso believed in the "criminal born" man and woman. He believed they had physical features of ape like creatures that were not fully developed as humans were. Lombroso measured thousands of live and dead prisoners to prove his theory. He noted that criminals lacked moral sense, had an absence of remorse and used much slang. Lombroso later added social and economic factors to his list of crime causation but said they were second in nature to biological, predetermined factors. His theory however has been kept alive, not by agreement but by much criticism".
The concept of positivist theory was to look at the criminal(s) behavior rather than the legal side such, as punishment or free to do whatever individuals want. Since biological is a major factors in the positivist theory "This theory of crime claims that men born with an extra Y chromosome (XYY), "super-males," are more likely to commit criminal acts. It is believed that the presence of this extra chromosome provides the individuals with extra testosterone, making them more aggressive and violent. There is little, if any, empirical support for this theory" explains (See, 2004, p.12). Lombroso had made a few points distinguishing different characteristics: All points have been stated by (O'Connor, 2010)
"Criminals have a unique physical type (shorter in height, for example)"
"Criminals are evolutionary degenerates (throwbacks, called atavism)"
"There are four classes of criminals: born (atavists), insane, occasional (criminalist-with some atavistic characteristics, some environmental factors), and passion"
(The World Renaissance Today , 2009) Explains that "Cesare Lombrosso (1835-1909) who believes criminals are biological throwbacks, i.e. the atavistic man. This is shown in Charles Darwin's 'Origin of the species'. The basic idea that criminals are primitive versions of man with inbred needs to offend rather than needs for wealth",
Cesare Lombrosso (1835-1909) also talks about how every single individual has some sort of characteristic to define them as a criminal, these characteristics can be little things such as: eye color, hair color, facial features, and personality are passed from generation to generation. Taking other factors rather than biological, talking about how social can be the cause of someone committing a crime or an criminal offence, if we were to take a look at where more crime occurs due to social influence is the third world country, where people are poor and poverty it the biggest issue (Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 18, 2010), states that "that societal factors such as poverty, membership of subcultures, or low levels of education can predispose people to crime." How is this possible, this is one of the major problem with country with high levels of poverty, individuals feel that they need to have more than other so what do they do? Simply commit a crime.
Flowe, 1996 explains that "Psychological theories of crime begin with the view that individual differences in behavior may make some people more predisposed to committing criminal acts. These differences may arise from personality characteristics, biological factors, or social interactions." (Ministry Of Justice, 2009) also states that " psychological literature shows that a key variable identified in the development of individual characteristics, and any criminal propensities, is the role played by parents, in term of factors such as child-rearing practices, attachment, neglect, abuse, supervision, and the parent own anti-social or criminal behavior". Psychological plays a big part in the way that people think criminal behavior results from the way in which people organize their thoughts about morality and the law.
See, 2004, (p.16) say that "Psychoanalytic theorists believe that criminal behavior is the result of a mental disturbance. From a Freudian perspective, this may have been caused by a conflict between the id, ego, and superego, or it may be the result of an improper fixation during a stage of emotional development."
To conclude both of these approaches have different ways of looking at crime, one mainly focusing on the free will of people committing crime and one focusing on how factors which could not be controlled by the individual has an effect on how someone can commit crime. Classicism is base on the premise of free will and places entire responsibility on the criminal. Positivism differs in the sense that it places the responsibility on forces beyond control of the criminal and hence, suggests that the criminal is born, not made, this is include factors such as biological, social, and psychological. In simply terms to summarize everything, the classical approach mainly focused on the free will of people and their ability to commit crime, but this is not the only thing that the classical approach look at, it also talks about hedonism and how that plays a big role in a person offending a crime. It also focused on the level of punishment should been given to an individual if a crime has been commit and that people had to make better rational choices. The second approach mainly focused on the criminal behavior rather than the crime itself, we have established that there are 3 major factors which are out of an individual control which cause that individual to commit crime. The 3 factors which were covered were biological, social, and physiological. These 3 factors influence the positivist theory or crime. Cesare Lombrosso (1835-1909) who believes criminals are biological throwbacks, he also believes that every person has the characteristic of been a criminal.