Criminal Justice Theory

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Classical criminology theory materialized during the second half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries during the Enlightenment era in Europe. Theorists set out to study the relationship of citizens to the state’s legal structure. Classical criminology views criminal conduct as a matter of human nature and believed that all human beings have free will to engage in an act (Barak, Leighton, Flavin, 2010). Early philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, believed that the guide to conduct is a balance between pain and pleasure. In other words, the punishment was to fit the crime (Raymond Paternoster, 2010). Viewing punishment as a deterrent, classical theorist believed employing severe punishment to deter potential offenders who outweighed the pleasure of crime versus the pain of the punishment. Classical theory has been a elemental part of the legal and economic thought as well as influencing the degree of punishment and sentencing in the society (Barak, Leighton, Flavin, 2010).
Within criminology the classical school's importance diminished as positivist explanations of criminal behavior emerged and became dominant. However, most modern criminal justice systems have never rejected free will explanations of criminal behavior. In the United States, the classical model has been encouraged more by the system in which it is implanted than by positivism. The classical model has re-emerged in criminology as the "justice model" and rational choice explanations.
The positivist criminological theory came about in the late nineteenth century which began to study crime as a social phenomenon which was scientifically based (Barak, Leighton, Flavin, 2010). Cesare Lombroso, Italian psychiatrist and criminologist, concluded that criminals are born not made. He is best known for the atavistic theory that criminals are throwbacks to some earlier age of development…...

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