Class Notes (835,529)
Canada (509,225)
Criminology (2,185)
CRIM 300W (51)
Jay H (14)
Lecture 3

Week 3 Textbook - Pre-Classical and Classical School

9 Pages
137 Views
Unlock Document

Department
Criminology
Course
CRIM 300W
Professor
Jay H
Semester
Fall

Description
WEEK 3: PRE-CLASSICAL AND CLASSICAL THEORIES OF CRIME Introduction  Emphasis on free will and ability of individuals to make rational decisions  Strong religious or supernatural causes of crime before the Age of Enlightenment  Ability of human beings to choose their own behavior and destiny  Analysis of what’s going on in someone’s head before they commit a crime  Potential offender weights out the possible costs and pleasure of committing  Individuals make decisions regardless of extraneous influences  Classical School theories are used as the basis for the US policies on punishment and criminal activity Pre-Classical Perspectives of Crime and Punishment  Historically, criminal activity was thought to be caused by supernatural causes or religious factors  Primitive cultures - devil or evils spirits, perform exorcisms, surgeries, full moon = criminal activity  Full moon belief is fake, Classical school equivalent = simply more opportunities to commit crime when the moon is full because there is more light at night  Historically, no understanding why individuals violate laws of society  Harsh punishments by modern standards o Ex. beheading, torture, burned alive, drowned, stoned Age of Enlightenment  Thomas Hobbs o Proposed theory of why people are motivated to form governments o People are rational o Importance of fear  Motivation to enter into contracts  Make citizens conform to rules or laws in society o Citizens entitled to certain degree of respect from government o Individuals create rules of conduct that all members of that society must follow = laws o Government has the authority and the duty to punish violators o SOCIAL CONTRACT – citizens promising to abide by the laws or rules set forth by a given society in return for protection  Enlightenment theorists: Rousseau, Locke, Voltaire, Montesquieu 1  Emphasized fairness in determine who was guilty and appropriate punishments  Social contract breakdown – government fails to punish members of the community who violate the rules, especially those with authority/power  DEMOCRACY – every person in society should have a say in the government  Individual’s right to pursuit of life, liberty and happiness  human beings are rational, people freely choose their behaviour The Classical School of Criminology  Cesare Beccaria – Father of classical school of criminology, father of deterrence theory Influences of Beccaria and His Writing  Influenced by the Enlightenment philosophers  Emphasis on social contract  UTILITARIANISM – greatest happiness shared by the greatest number Beccaria’s Proposed Reforms and Ideas of Justice  Authoritarian governments ruled at that time  Different punishments for different people depending on their social class 1. Only laws can decree punishments for crimes, judges in criminal cases cannot have the authority to interpret laws o Prevent a single person from assignment an overly harsh sentence on a defendant and allowing another defendant in a similar case to walk free for the same criminal act o Require set punishments for a given offense, presiding judge’s personal attitudes or defendant’s background does not matter 2. Believed “true measure of crimes is namely the harm done to society” o Laws impose specific punishment regardless of contextual circumstances o Ignored offender’s intent in committing crime  Intent very important in modern justice systems  Mens rea – guilty mind  Actus reus – guilty act o Claimed act against society was just as harmful regardless of the intent 3. Secret accusations should not be permitted o Defendants should be able to confront and cross-examine witness 4. Torture should not be used against defendants o Information/oaths obtained under torture are worthless 5. Defendants should be tried by fellow citizens or peers o Responsibility of determine facts should be placed on more than one person 2 o Promotes fairness and democratic process o Trial by judge = guilty, but a lot are wrongly accused, unjustly sentenced 6. Emphasis on make the justice system more public and better understood o If people know the consequences of their actions, they will act accordingly 7. Decision making processes of justice system should be public knowledge o Citizens are entitled to know what decision their government officials are making o Ensures a form of checks and balances on what is happening o Produces a form of deterrence for tempted individuals 8. The surest but most difficult way to prevent crime is by perfecting education Beccaria’s Ideas of Death Penalty  Was against the use of capital punishment, but not against corporal punishment  Reasons against: o Violated the social contract o Death penalty is a negative example to the rest of society  BRUTALIZATION EFFECT – increase of homicides after executions o Ineffective deterrent  Not the intensity of punishment but the duration that has greatest effect Beccaria’s Concept of Deterrence and the Three Key Elements of Punishment  Known as the father of deterrence theory  Prior to his work, common wisdom on the issue of human destiny was that it was chosen by the gods  Historically, society believed that people were born good or bad, Beccaria defied this belief  3 characteristics of punishment which make a difference in whether the individual decides to commit a criminal act 1. Swiftness – swiftness of punishment  The more promptly and closely punishment follows after crime, the more just and useful it’ll be  Have to catch them in the act or soon after or punishment does not matter because the offender does not know why he/she is being punished  Offender must know, one as the cause and the other as the necessary inevitable effect  The most neglected characteristics 2. Certainty – certainty of punishment  Most important 3  Perceived certainty of risk of punishment was the most important aspect of deterrence 3. Severity – severity of punishment  Effective punishment – possible penalty must outweigh potential benefits of given crime  Punishments should equal or outweigh any benefits of crime to deter individuals from engaging in such acts  However punishments that largely exceed the reasonable punishment for a given crime is inhumane and may lead to further criminality Beccaria’s Conceptualization of Specific and General Deterrence  Distinguished by intended target of punishment  Punishment – to prevent the criminal from inflicting new injuries on its citizens and to deter others from similar acts  SPECIFIC DETERRENCE – deterrence that focuses on the defendant alone  GENENRAL DETERRENCE – punishments that focus primarily on other potential criminals and not on the actual criminal o Scaring others into not committing such criminal acts  Punishments such a public sign-wearing, newspaper ads, billboards may encourage individuals into doing what the public expects them to do o Authorities hope these signs will frighten other from engaging in similar activities  Numerous diversion programs which seek to punish offenders without engaging them in public hearings or trials o Hold individuals accountable and fulfill certain obligations without having them dragged though the system o Instill public deterrence but neglects general deterrence  Beccaria – better to prevent crimes than to punish them o Better to deter potential offenders before they offend o Education is likely the best way to reduce crime Summary of Beccaria’s Ideas and His Influence on Policy  “In order for punishment not to be, in every instance, an act of violence of one or of many against a private citizen, it must be essentially public, prompt, necessary, the least possible in the given circumstances, proportionate to the crimes, dictated by the laws o Processing and punishment must be known to the public o Punishment must be appropriately, swift, certain and appropriately severe o Need for equal punishment for a given criminal act 4  Beccaria excommunicated from Roman Catholic Church, book was on list of
More Less

Related notes for CRIM 300W

Log In


OR

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


OR

By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.


Submit