Theories Of Criminality And Their Relationship With Social Policy

782 Words Nov 17th, 2014 4 Pages
Theories of Criminality and their Relationship with Social Policy
Ideologies and actions are very closely related as they are influenced by one another. Theories of criminality have had tremendous impact on the laws and ideas humans have had about controlling crime. Religion was a great influence for people’s beliefs in spirits and possession being the cause of temptation and crime. However, during the Enlightenment, Cesare Beccaria’s Classical School theory protested against brutal punishments and focused on the individual’s ability to have choice. Later came Lombroso’s idea on dealing with crime, and this was the beginning of the eugenics movement, which was a newer idea on treating criminality. Finally, there were biological theories which included thoughts about the cause of crime, such as low intelligence or body type. Each different theory on crime had a certain impact on social policy and the lives of the people living in that time period, and with them bringing a new way of dealing with criminality.
Prior to the 18th century, criminality was closely linked with possession and the devil (Linden, 2012, p. 258). Therefore, crimes were linked with “evil spirits and wrong doing”, and often the cause was possession of the devil (Linden, 2012, p. 258). These beliefs lead to appalling torturing to rid the individual of the devil, or the burning of accused witches (Linden, 2012, p. 258; 260). These actions, which seem absurd to us in today’s times, are what we would call…

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