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Classical Theory- Utilitarianism

Classical Theory- Utilitarianism

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Classical Theory- Utilitarianism

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  1. Classical Theory- Utilitarianism • Classical Criminology comes from the Utilitarian views contemporary to the mid-eighteenth century • Cartesian Dichotomy (Rene Descartes 1596-1650) • Power and Reasoning are divine gifts, setting Man apart from any other form of life • Man had free will • All Human conduct was an exercise of this free will • Behavior had to be useful, purposeful and reasonable

  2. Classical Theory-Deterrence • The premise of Classical Theory are based on a persons rational exercise of free will • Persons who obey or break the law calculate the amount of “pleasure” derived from the act versus the amount of “pain” if punished for the act.

  3. Classical Theory • If a person believes the legal penalty threatens more pain than the gain, they will not commit the crime • Their calculation is based on • Own experience with punishment • The likelihood they will get caught • Their knowledge of the law • Their awareness of what punishment has been given in the past

  4. Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) • “Pain Avoidance” and fear of punishment would discourage a crime violator • In order for a criminal to fear punishment, the punishment had to be clearly stated

  5. Cesare Beccaria • All criminals should receive identical punishments: Regardless of age, sanity, wealth, position or circumstance • Punishment for crimes should be determined in advance • The penalty should be severe enough to overcome the pleasures.

  6. Beccaria • Dei delitti e elle pene or “A Treatise on Crime and Punishment” • Eventually modified so that children and “lunatics” were exempted from punishment • Beccaria is credited with eliminating torture and severe punishment (like hanging for petit larceny) • Beccaria advocated ridding the justice system of corruption

  7. Cesare Beccaria • Certainty and Celerity • “The more immediately after the commission of a crime a punishment is inflicted, the more just and useful it will be”

  8. Jeremy Bentham • Beccaria was Italian. In Italy, his ideas were not warmly received • Jeremy Bentham (1742-1832), philosopher and jurist, supported The Classical School in England. • Bentham was one of the philosophical founders of Utilitarianism

  9. Jeremy Bentham • Agreed with the Deterrence Theory Doctrine • “…for each crime a punishment whose pains would outweigh any possible pleasure to be gained from them and by assuring the certain and swift administration of justice, rational men, deterred by the realization that a net loss will inevitably result from the criminal act, will refrain from breaking the law.”

  10. Classical School • If the “Punishment most fit the crime” does that mean that “pain for gain” is the same for everyone? • Does this mean that legislature should have an exact scale of crimes with an exact scale of punishments?

  11. Specific Deterrence • If I know that when I was caught the first time, I was severely punished. I do not want that again.

  12. General Deterrence • The punishment for that crime is rather severe. I would not commit that crime because I do not want that.

  13. Deterrence Doctrine The philosophical foundation for western criminal law

  14. Modern Adaptations • Blumstein (1978) • “…longer sentences, if not a deterrent, will keep an inmate in longer” • President Clinton ”Violent Crime Control Act and Law Enforcement Act of 1994”