Three types of crime explanation
1. External forces: nature, cosmology (weather) and demonology
2. Internal causes
3. Group association
External Forces- produce some troublesome behaviour. Act upon people, can’t say you did something
with no explanation. (Stole something because they felt like it- but usually there is an external
Cosmology- external forces we can’t explain, such as humid days and storms.
Demonology: Witchcraft, demonises behaviour not normal to society (somebody who likes cats is
considered a witch- all based on a person’s perspective).
Internal Causes: People who have mentally and psychological problems. Criminals have physiological
differences (such as defective genes). Focuses on abnormalities and mental and physical in nature such
as behavioural problems and I.Q. deficiency. ** Usually this is a diagnosed prognosis**
Group Association: Sociological explanations that look at crime can’t be reduced to individual causes.
Looking at crime from group association model, through criminal explanation.
2. The objective- subjective debate
Objective: Behaviour is real
Subjective: Behaviour is constructed
4. Classical School of Criminology (1680-1800)
- Tied to the enlightenment period
- Role of hedonism (self- interest)
- Importance of free will
- Social contract- nonverbal contract to not hurt other people
- Role of punishment- punishment is justifiable. The punishment has to be severe enough to
deter crime or stop criminals from committing a crime.
- Utilitarianism (greatest good) Have laws creating social order and creating laws to deter
crime and deal with crime fighting strategies.
- Philosophes (Voltaire, arouet, Hobbes Kant and Hume)
5. Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794)
- Book on “Crimes and Punishment”
- Classification of crimes: high treason, personal security, and public tranquility
- Measure of crime: social harm
- Punishment and the right to punish ( 1. Law 2. Authority and Judges)
- Evidence and forms of judgement
- Punishment as a deterrent (1. Promptness 2. Severity 3. Certainty
- The death penalty: potential problems (was against the death penalty)
- Other ideas Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
a) Book “Prinicples of Morals and Legislation”). Interested in see beyond the system of class
group. Influence by utilitarianism and idea in equality. Reducing judgment, and harsh
punishment based of socio-economic class.
b) Similarities with Beccaria
- Utilitarianism : greatest good for the greatest number
- Happiness of the people (security)- mankind has been pressures under pain and pleasure,
attempting to deal with human nature.. Desire to be good humans. “Free will”
- Punishment as a deterrent- Punishment has to be equal to the crime. Looking at how you
can form punishment.
- Free will is an important aspect in creating a system of justice and punishment
- What is the new way of looking at justice, looking at proportion (probation for stealing
bread, or prison for committing murder).
c) Panopticon concept is a system looking at prison design and incorporates utilitarianism. Ideas
are incorporated in how we surveillance people. Looking at 360 degree of surveilling people, so
they know they are being watched.
- Prison design
- Surveillance society – came from his ideas
- CCTV example (Lecture based on Classical)
- See beyond the class based system
- People had a pain and pleasure component
Ex. Freedom of society vs selfish side of hu
- Wanted to find laws to balance this
- Punishment should not be excessive; value of punishment should be greater then the crime
- Catch criminal quick swift punishment to warn society and individuals what would happen if
they committed the same crime and deter future behavior