The level of knowledge and understanding of crime was low. People that broke laws and rule were punished in brutal method, method which was in barbaric way, methods which lead to copping body parts and mutilation. Eventually a period came when people started to understand and gain knowledge on the subject of crime. Two theorists named Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham were the mastermind behind the concept/idea of the classical school of criminology. They introduced classicism school of criminology. The concept behind this school was to understand the philosophy which revolved around administrative method of law and crime. Westmarland, (2001) stated that punishment should be equal to everyone and that the level of punishment should the in correlation the crime that has been committed. Judges used to abuse their power when it came to punishment Gottfredson & Hirschi, (1990). Beccaria believed that there should be rules and legal norms which could allow equal application to everyone.
The first notion and important factor which two theorists found was that, there should be an equal punishment for everyone for that crime that was carried out. This idea in place caused the removal of the barbaric method of punishment. The concept of free will was another major factor, this demonstrated that criminals could weight up there options before a crime (White et al., 2008); this meant that criminals could figure out the advantages and disadvantages before committing a crime. Due to this concept was found that criminals are not born, but rather chose to commit because they believed it would be in their best interest and they will benefit from it. Walters & Bradley, (2005) states that criminals go through a rational choice making process, which meant that the level of punishment must equal to the amount of crime they commit (good/bad).
As previously stated we the classical school looked at the level of punishment for the level of crime committed which meant that the classical school was not interested in how crime and why crime were committed, but more interest in the legal side of it such as a better or development of judicial system. Classicism looks at how crime could be committed by anybody and that there was no one or person in particular to commit crime, whether they were criminals or non-criminals. Equality has played a major part, but at the same time is has its flaws meaning that people that were rich at is easy rather than the poor people. Due to some revelations to the judicial system major flaws have appeared, the most common one was that classicism school could not explain why people re-offended and why certain crime which occurred were irrational.
Soon after a new school was developed, this brought many new ideas and different approaches to crime. The person behind this was no other than Cesare Lombroso, Sigmund Freud, and Emile Durkheim, this school was known as the Positivist school of criminology. The school focused mainly to explain what could cause a person to commit a crime and finally why the crime is been committed, unlike classicism school which believed that people has the free will to commit crime this approaches used scientific method such as mathematics, chemistry, economics, and social factors to find out and understand crime as a whole. Positivist school also looked at other factor which could have influence or impacted on a person to commit the crime. Rather than focusing on the crime like the classicism, positivist focused on the person committing the crime.
Classicism believed that the level of punishment should be given to the level of crime committed, positivist believe that this was not true instead of punishment positivist focused on the treatment, and that treatment would be more appropriate and more effective. Criminal were not blamed for the actions (Burke, 2005). The first aim was to locate and find out why that person committed the crime once this was done than appropriate treatment would be given, this was very different from the classicism school were they believed in punishment.
The Positivist school of criminology was much more in debt and the structure was much more complex than the classicist school. Since it was more complex the positivist class was classified into three subsections which was believed to be the bases of crime and why is occurred: the following three subsections were known as biological, psychological and sociological. Each of these three had its own views on crime.
Biological - Biological Positivism look at crime to be carried on in the family line meaning that people/individuals are born to be criminal, this was particularly the idea of Casare Lombroso. Casare Lombroso believed that criminal are born, Lombroso's research was based on Theory of Evolution by Charles Darwin, on the other hand classicism looked at the rational choice theory and that crime was a rational choice one made.
Psychological - believed that criminals had the ability to develop and be drive by their ego, perception, and cognitive abilities, and also their experience. This experience can be resulting from the time they are young till present and environmental factors that are surrounding or impacting on a criminals mind. There are three major components which would determine if a person which commit a crime, A; Conscious, B; Pre-Conscious and finally C; Un-Conscious part of the mind.
Sociological - Emile Durkheim was the man behind this concept, sociological looked at how society around and specific proceedings would affect the ability to commit crime or not. He believed that by using scientific approach he could understand and examine society. He acknowledged society as a social phenomenon, exterior to people, which crime was a regular action of a healthy society. Deviancy was nothing more than "boundary setting," pushing to determine the current limits of morality and acceptability.
The positivist school of criminology rejected the ideas which came from the classical school, the idea of that all crime is committed and is a result of people making the choice of committing the crime and that could potentially be made by anybody. They did not fully disagree to some ideas, ideas which explained, that crime could be explained through "human nature". They argued that most crime that were committed where by people that are "primitive" or "atavistic- people that have failed to evolve to a fully human and civilized state. Therefore crime was a result of distinctive physical or mental defects rather than what criminals had in common with others in society. The positivist school looked at the scientific approach to crime, finding scientific method in why people commit crime. On the other hand classical school was more concerned with the legal side and crime to be self-interest. Becker, (1963) argued that the positivist school did not look beyond to what was required, it did not looked at the labelling theory as different communities and different social groups have different meanings and perspective to criminals or even crime in general. He also argued that scientist show obey and accept morals decision when it comes to punishment.
Another problem with Lombroso theory was when he believes that people who commit crime had very low levels of intelligences and if we were to consider this in relation to the size of their brain as Charles Darwin talks about it would be difficult. The perfect example of this would the "cave-men" in the Neanderthal. They are known the have a larger brain size than normal human beings, but yet they are not remarkably peaceful. Intelligence is not just about the overall size of a person's brain. There is no correlation between the level of intelligence one may have with the size of their brains. Many geniuses have had small cranial capacities, and visa-versa.
In conclusion, these two schools of criminology had made a great impact on the study of crime and the criminology department. The purpose of these schools was to gather a better understanding and knowledge on criminals and crime has a whole. Both school were invented in the 18th century, people did not have any understanding or knowledge prior the introduction of these schools. The first school we looked at was classicism school of criminology which was invented by Cesare Becarria and further researched by Jeremy Bentham. Before this period the law system and the method of punishment was brutal, so the first aim was to have a fair law system. Classicism also looked at the concept of free-will, meaning that the people had the ability to do whatever they want, this school mainly focused on the legal side of the crime rather than why the person and how the crime was committed. On the other hand the positivist school was aim to find out why and how crime was committed. The mastermind behind this concept was Cesare Lombroso, Raffael Garofalo and Enrico Ferri. This school believed that scientific method such as psychological, biological and social were the factors which determined if a person would commit crime or not. Although both schools looked crime the concept was different the classicism focused on the concept of free-will and the amount of punishment that was inflected on a person depending on the crime and the other school argued that crime was not a choice and was the result of scientific factors.