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Classical Criminology and Imprisonment

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Define and discuss the classical school of criminology? In particular, address the contributions of Beccaria and Bentham to the debate about punishment and the impact of these contributions in modern corrections?

Jennifer Summers

Student Number: s2888608
Course: 2007CCJ
Course Convenor: Dr John Rynne
Course Tutor: Lisa Thomsen
Due Date: 4th April 2014
Date Submitted: 4th April 2014

Criminological theories research and investigate a number of social and individual issues pertaining to the causes of crime, law and punishment. Classical criminology refers to a period of time known as the Enlightenment during the 18th century. The classical school was body of ideas with regards to the restructure and reform of punishment in the 18th century (Hyland, Gomez & Greensides, 2003) by a group of European philosophers and scholars, including Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham. These two classical thinkers were at the forefront of criminal law and penal reform. This essay seeks to explore the role that Beccaria and Bentham had in the debate about punishment in their time and how their contributions have impacted modern corrections. To understand the contributions that Beccaria and Bentham made to classical criminology, it is fundamental to understand about the social conditions that existed when they were writing. The classical thinkers were rebelling against an arbitrary and corrupt system of law, in which the judges held and absolute and tyrannical power over those who came before them (Hyland, Gomez & Greensides, 2003). Confessions where obtained through means of torture, and the death penalty was used for many offences. A primary part of the reform from the Classical thinkers was for fair and just treatment of the offender. Antecedently to the current reform, judges were able to punish offenders as they saw fit, regardless of the severity of the…...

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