Cesare Beccaria And Jeremy Bentham Were The Founders Of The Classical Theory Phenomenon

1622 Words Apr 30th, 2016 7 Pages
Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham were the founders of the classical theory phenomenon (Piliavin, 1986). The concept was based on several principles, which entailed three main ideologies; free will, where actions are based on one’s own rationality (Burke 2014), more so punishment should apply to the crime as opposed to the criminal, as the theorists believed that a certainty in punishment would deter both the public and criminal (Akers 1999). The perspective adopted throughout will focus on the theories inability to justify the actions of violent homicide offenders, such as Jeffrey Dahmer, and how the high recidivism rates fail to support specific deterrence, even when making the punishment fit the crime.

Free will assumes that all individuals have choice in deciding whether to obey or violate the law by a “rational calculation” (Akers, 1999, 16). The theories strength derives from its sense of generality, which entails that; the criminal’s actions can be applied to any milieu where legality has been violated (Chai 2008). Likewise, its potency is found in the principle of parsimony. This aims to explain a criminal’s behaviour without any additional assumptions being made, especially when multiple viable justifications are possible (Ogu, 2013).

The rational choice theory was implemented in Jeffery Dahmer’s case. Despite reports in court that Dahmer was mentally ill, the Milwaukee jury discharged the arguments, and found him guilty (Simon 1996). There was consensus…

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