Classical Criminology : A Rational Basis, And Understanding Of Right And Wrong

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Classical criminology is based off subjective methods that are not grounded in scientific reasoning and came about in the late eighteenth century. According to Bernard, Snipes and Gerould (2010), classical criminologists believe that crime is due to free-will “based off deliberateness, intent, and understanding of right and wrong” (p. 9). Hobbes “social contract” counter-argued the spiritualists view with a naturalistic view and posited that people are ingrained to seek out their personal interests while disregarding others. In short humans are all about the “me, myself and I attitude” however, people will conform to societal rules as long as everyone else does, because they are tired of fighting “the war against all” (p.15). Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau also posited that crime had a rational basis, as well as, how the state responds to crime. Cesare Beccaria posited that people will commit crime via free-will or rational choice by weighing the possible reward against the punishment. Punishment should also be in proportion to the crime committed, as well as, punishment must be swift in-order to be a deterrent. People have full control over their criminal actions and choose to become a criminal, as well as, people are ingrained to strive for greater pleasure while minimizing the pain incurred. This led to three approaches based on classical criminology; deterrence, routine activities and rational choice. In deterrence research, Nagin found that crime…

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