Classical and Biological theories of criminology

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Criminology

Document 1

Criminology can be defined as the study of the motives of individuals in engaging in criminal activities (Griffiths, M. L. and Herbig, 2016, pp. Some of the conventional approaches include rational choice theories, classical theories, social organization theories, strain theory, labeling theory, social control theory, biological theory and social learning theory among many others (Maier-Katkin et al. pp. This paper is going to compare and contrast two major criminology theories including classical and biological approaches. To begin with, there are different types of violent crimes that people often commit in society. Some of the crimes include murder, homicide, first-degree murder, second-degree murder, negligent homicide, manslaughter, assault, battery, simple assault, vehicular assault, robbery, burglary, theft, rape, and sodomy. Crimes are also said to be done against the laws (Maier-Katkin et al. pp. The classical theory of criminology was built up by ideas of the 18th-century philosophers of legal reforms. The philosophers who were the origin of the ideas included Beccaria and Bentham, contributed to the development of the classical school. Beccaria was known as the father of Classical Criminology since that was his central idea, brought up a notion that, it is better to prevent crimes than to punish them” (Beccaria, 2009). He also had a strong belief that the laws including rules and regulations were designed to improve the public safety and make sure that citizens live peacefully and orderly. He also added that the laws are not intended to avenge the crime (Beccaria, 2009). It is therefore analytical to comment that the rules are not just meant to subdue or to control criminals but for the better existence of the society.

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Jeremy Bentham also contributed to the theory as he explains the classical concept of human beings easily (Roussell, 2015, pp. It is thus evident that for people to avoid pain, they seek comfort in seeing pleasure including engaging in actions or activities which involve committing crimes in society. In the classical approach, one can, therefore, commit a crime to feel pleasure and avoid pain. In most cases, people always weigh between the cost of crime and the benefits. The theory is based on a perception that non-criminals and criminals have different way of reasoning and thinking. Biological methods of crime are also considered to be positivistic. This is because they contribute to the adoption of individual criminal behaviors that are sometimes beyond human control. Besides, human behavior is controlled by fear of consequences more so in crimes where the results are a pain.

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They could, therefore, decide to commit crimes if they could benefit but do not suffer consequences. In the biological theory of crime, the perception that individuals commit crime due to anatomical defects that they have is substantially supported. They are also said to have criminal tendencies because of the abnormalities in thinking as they think differently with the other ordinary people in society. In most cases, their brains are directed to do wrong in society or do whatever other people are not doing (Rafter, 2008). They do not choose to commit the crimes but naturally, find themselves ever in problems or committing crimes (Jennings et al. pp. In classical theory, the most influential philosopher, Cesare Beccaria, presented works formed in the roots and base of the classist theory or criminology. Besides, his perceptions and ideology were drawn from other approaches such as Rousseau and Montesquieu's theory of social contract.

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He firmly argued for the social contract theory and agreed with it thus generating some of his theoretical perceptive from the social contract theory (Shjarback and Young, 2018, pp. Moreover, Beccaria contributed to literature by publishing an essay on crimes and punishment which was so influential and very important in the face of society. Inclusively, he wrote about the use of basics human nature could be used to reduce the occurrence and the impacts of crime in the community (Matsuda, 2017, pp. Jeremy Bentham, a significant figure in the classical approach of criminology also supported Beccaria’s arguments and ideas. Both Bentham and Beccaria have similar thoughts on criminology. They based most of their cases on Utilitarian principles of “greatest happiness for the greatest number” Bentham argued that the nature of human beings is rational and weigh different variables including pain and gain before committing an action (Akers, 2013).

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Criminals, therefore, will be deterred if the pain or consequences weighs more than the increase. One can thus be afraid or develop a fear of experience pain yet they won’t gain anything much from committing the crimes. Lombroso in his biological theory categorizes criminals into four: 1. Born criminals- they can be identified by their characteristics of physical atavists. They could have some characteristics such as physical statures and even long arms suggesting that they are criminals (Rafter, 1997). Occasional criminals- these are criminals who use the available opportunities in their environments to commit crimes. Such criminals wait for chances and motives to commit crimes such as theft if they have access to a property. This is because it was believed that there are genetic traits that drive people to become criminals.

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It has concluded that in a case of identical twins and the non-identical twins, they both display original behavioral patterns (Carrington and Hogg, 2017, pp. Studies done on adopted children conclude that there are differences between the criminal behavior between the adopted children and their adoptive parents but are the same with their biological parents. It thus proves that criminology is something genetic and can be passed from parents to children. Biology, therefore, has a higher influence on the criminal behaviors of individuals. It started to change just after the widespread of the classism idea that was seen to be better than issuing barbaric punishments to criminals. In the nineteenth century, capital and torture punishments on criminals started declining at a higher rate (D'Amico, 2017, pp. This was accelerated by the belief of most people on humane approaches of punishing criminals.

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The classism principles were also responded to by developing of penal punishments. People also advocated for equal rights and wanted everyone to be treated equally as required by the law (Sen, 2017, pp. Both approaches have also failed to relent on the theories and findings that contradict their principles which proves that they cannot satisfactorily defend themselves and ideas to outmatch contradictions from other theoretical results. The classical theory also fails to recognize some of the important societal aspects such as inequality. It doesn’t believe that social differences are the major causes of crime in the society thus making it miss some of the essential points to explain criminology. In this aspect, some criminal individuals have the power to change the law or oppress it by use of lawyers and their knowledge based on law (Young, Taylor and Walton, 2013).

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Other people in the society, however, are no in a position to do that thus a significant inequality. The biological theory also has limitations, for example, it focuses a lot on nature to explain the existence and occurrence of crime. The aspect of genetics and inheritance of crimes in a family line has not yet been scientifically proved by the theory which doesn’t give it a reasonable stand on criminology. The biological theory also tends to develop some approaches of disorder which it argues to have an impact on anyone. The theory does not, therefore, consider the uniqueness of human beings by generalizing the aspect of disorder on everyone. Moreover, it assumes that all human beings respond to stress similarly. Wright, J. P. Boutwell, B. B. Schwartz, J.  On crimes and punishments and other writings.

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University of Toronto Press. Burke, R. H.  An introduction to criminological theory. com/paper-on-strengths-weaknesses-classical-criminology/[Accessed: 6 Dec. D'Amico, D. The counter-revolution of criminological science: a study on the abuse of reasoned punishment.  Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 10(1), pp. Durrant, R. Biological perspectives in criminology. In Biosocial Theories of Crime (pp. Routledge. Greer, C. and Reiner, R.  Governance, 30(3), pp. Kavish, N. Fowler-Finn, K. and Boutwell, B. B. Routledge. Matsuda, M. J. Liberal jurisprudence and abstracted visions of human nature: A feminist critique of Rawls’ theory of justice. In Gender and Justice (pp. H. HJ Eysenck in Fagin’s kitchen: The return to biological theory in 20th-century criminology. In Biosocial Theories of Crime (pp. Routledge. Roussell, A. Sen, A. Elements of a theory of human rights. In Justice and the Capabilities Approach (pp.

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Routledge. Shjarback, J.  Rehabilitation, 4(26). Weisburd, D. The law of crime concentration and the criminology of place.  Criminology, 53(2), pp. West, K.

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