The Modern Criminal Justice System Essay

1346 Words Sep 7th, 2014 6 Pages
Classical criminological or ‘classicism’ was a reaction against the arbitrariness and tyranny that was associated with the administration of justice in the eighteenth century (Carrabine, Cox, Lee, Plummer, and South, 2009). Before the introduction of classicism, justice was completely arbitrary and criminal punishment was barbaric and torturous. However, the modern criminal justice system now conducts its process of justice following different principles that were set down for the administration of justice, by Enlightenment reformers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (Carrabine et al, 2009). Classicism is a rather rigid and stand-alone criminological theory which consists of seven main features (Walklate, 2007). Although these main classical features have laid the foundations for much of the criminal justice system and concepts of criminology in the modern day, the theory is subjected to various criticisms.
Classicism is associated with the works of Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794), the father of the classical school of criminology and Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) (Walklate, 2007). Brown et al. (2012) highlights that, as classicists intended to reform the system and the administration of justice, one of the key features was Beccaria’s doctrine of Egalitarianism. This refers to equality before the law, where offenders must first be convicted by the court of law to be subjected to punishment (White and Haines, 2004). As all individuals are equal before the law,…

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