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According to Classical Criminology What Is the Primary Purpose of Law

Although in the classical period social conditions are also cited as causes of crime, Beccaria and others are more interested in crime than in the perpetrator. This is due to the idea of the equality of all peoples, as well as the fact that all social circumstances (or at the beginning of the classical period also supernatural) can be fulfilled equally, which means that only the act itself distinguishes criminals from non-criminals. But the concept is problematic [after whom?] because it depends on two critical assumptions: relying on Hobbes and other thinkers of the social contract at the time, it was assumed that humans have free will and are rational beings. We can choose one action over another based on perceived benefits and possible consequences. In addition, humans are hedonistic. Hedonism is the assumption that people will see maximum pleasure and avoid pain (punishment). So if we accept the assumptions of classical theory, we can hold people 100% accountable for their actions because it was a choice. These assumptions have been the foundation of the U.S. criminal justice system since its inception.

While theories may have changed the landscape of understanding criminal behavior and punishment philosophies over time, the criminal justice system has maintained the assumption that crime is a choice. As a result, we can hold offenders 100% accountable for their actions. The main requirement of the Classical School of Criminology is the proportionality of the sanctions in relation to their previous crimes. According to Beccaria, the amount of the penalty must be based on the damage caused. Arbitrary application of justice and excessively harsh and inappropriate sanctions should be rejected. It is necessary to introduce clear, legal and equal rules for all with regard to the punishment and severity of penalties, which should not be based on the person who committed the crime, but only on the act itself. Therefore, there must be systematically the same penalties for the same crimes, which in turn must be strictly linked to the written and precise definitions of the different crimes and their corresponding penal provisions. John Locke examined the mechanism that had allowed monarchies to become the main form of government.

He concluded that monarchs had affirmed and enforced the right to govern, either through the exercise of raw power or through some form of contract, for example. The feudal system depended on the granting of land in the interior in exchange for services rendered to the sovereign. Locke suggested that all citizens are equal and that there is an unwritten but voluntary contract between the state and its citizens that empowers members of the government and sets out a framework of mutual rights and obligations. In leviathan, Thomas Hobbes wrote: “The right of all sovereigns derives from the consent of each of those who are to be governed.” It is a shift from authoritarianism to an early model of European and North American democracy, in which police powers and the system of punishment are means to a more just end. Beccaria laid out his ideas on legal reform, including how and why effective sanctions can be created. His essay was very influential during the Enlightenment and may have served as a model for the creation of the American criminal justice system. For example, Beccaria advocated that penalties be equal to the crime and proportionate to the harm caused, that laws be established only by legislators, that judges determine only guilt, and that each person be treated equally under the law. He said the only purpose of the law was to prevent people from committing the crime. Deterrence can be achieved if the punishment is safe, swift and severe. This may seem like common sense today, but they were considered radical ideas at the time. In this context, the most relevant idea was known as the “principle of happiness” of utilitarianism, that is, everything that is done should aim to bring the greatest possible happiness to as many people as possible in society. Bentham argued that there had been a “shift in sentences”, i.e.

the severity of sentences had slowly increased, so that the death penalty had subsequently been imposed for more than two hundred offences in England. [Citation needed] For example, if rape and murder were both punishable by death, a rapist would be more likely to kill the victim (as a witness) in order to reduce the risk of arrest. However, a principled stance against the death penalty – as it prevails today in many countries, especially in Europe – cannot be associated with the classical school of criminology, even if it has often been interpreted as such in the past. After all, Romilly, Feuerbach and Beccaria referred to offences that would still be punishable by death. It is certainly problematic that the question of the phenomenon of “crime” in classical music is probably still a by-product of the political and literary management of punishment and justice. There was no specially developed classical crime theory. Rather, the classical crime theory is a summary of the mainly political ideas of Beccaria and his contemporaries, which are presented and interpreted retrospectively by the recipients. Thus, there are many that date not classical criminology, but positivist as the real beginning of criminology today, since the subject of “crime” is clearly described.

However, the importance of Beccaria and classical criminology (in addition to their influences on criminal policy) can be justified above all by their various current perceptions (rational choice, deterrence, routine approach to activity). Thus, the classical school is not only the oldest, but probably also the most constant, the relevance of which is repeatedly confirmed in neoclassical studies. In criminology, the classical school generally refers to the work of utilitarian philosophers and social contracts Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria of the 18th century during the Enlightenment. Their interests lie in the criminal justice and criminal justice system and, indirectly, through the assertion that “man is a calculating animal”, in the causes of criminal behaviour. The classical school of thought was based on the idea that people have the free will to make decisions, and that punishment can be a deterrent against crime, as long as the punishment is proportionate, corresponds to the crime and is executed immediately. Classical criminal theory, especially according to Beccaria, is based on the assumption that people are free of will and therefore completely responsible for their own actions and that they also have the ability to rationally weigh their abilities. Crime is therefore the result of free and rational decisions of individuals who act. In terms of content, classical theory weakens the incompatibility of assumptions that people are free and responsible for their actions, but at the same time are subject to causes (supernatural, later social) that lead to their deviant behavior.

However, this contradiction is again due to the fact that Beccaria and Co. did not pursue a conclusive theory of the crime, but tried to theoretically justify their political and criminal claims. On the one hand, it was necessary to designate society as the center of criminal activities in order to achieve a certain understanding of the perpetrator and thus a renunciation of excessively severe penalties (this was also associated with criticism of judges and judicial proceedings). On the other hand, the emphasis on the equality and freedom of all peoples was also important to emphasize the utilitarian and enlightened thinking that prevailed at that time and to anchor it in criminal law. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was an English philosopher and was considered the founder of utilitarianism, the belief that decisions are considered good or bad based on their effect. He believed that a person`s expectation of the future was the most predictive of deterrence. Therefore, the benefits of punishment should be severe enough to deter people from committing crimes. Punishment would promote happiness throughout society by maximizing social benefits. He helped popularize classical theory throughout Europe. [3] The idea of man as a calculating animal requires that crime be taken into account as the product of a free choice of perpetrators.

So the question for policymakers is how to use state institutions to get citizens to choose not to offend. This theory appeared in the Enlightenment and claimed that it should focus on rationality. But because it lacks sophistication, it has been mechanically operationalized, provided that there is a mathematics of deterrence, that is, a proportional calculation made first by decision-makers and then by potential offenders. This school believed that there are value constants in pain and gain that can influence a decision to insult or not offend. However, not everyone is the same, and they do not have the same vision of what constitutes a price that is worth paying. He also had a certain utopia in assuming that the police system could grow rapidly and provide a better investigation and detection service. If we want to ensure the security of punishment, we must invest heavily in police services. As other schools of thought developed, classicism slowly became less popular. It experienced a revival through the neoclassical school and theories of right realism such as rational choice theory. [2] The hypothesis of deterrence on the one hand and the underlying hypothesis of human rationality and responsibility on the other hand are also reflected in Bentham`s idea of the Panopticon, a prison in which, due to the construction of the building, inmates must at all times be under the visual supervision of the guards or assume that this is the case.

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