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Critically evalute the legacy of the Chicago School of Criminology - Essay Example

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Critically evalute the legacy of the Chicago School of Criminology

Before the dominant theories in Criminology emerged, the leading theories were classical criminology and positivist theories of crime. The emergence of classical school of criminology can be traced in the early 18th century lead by philosopher Jeremy Bentham who focused on criminal justice and penology. He opined that crime results from a product of human nature and since humans posses free will, they have therefore the ability to control their own actions (Carrabine, Iganski, Lee, Plummer, and South, 2004). Bentham suggested that a criminal justice system is more reasonable as compared to the classic barbaric system of capital punishment. According to him, there should be more focus on the enforcement of the law and the legal processes instead on the different causes of crime (Bentham, 1789).
For Beccaria (1764), in his famous book On Crimes and Punishments , crimes do not exist by reason of bad individuals but from bad laws. He suggested new perspective based on justice. This became major foundation of the modern criminal justice system. As asserted by the early positivist theorists, free will is out of the question in studying crime. These theorists used empirical research methods by which they theorized that the causes of crimes are biological, psychological and environmental factors (Carrabine et al, 2004). This is different from the classical approach which has its sight on legal issues and crime prevention.
According to the positivist criminologists, as shared by Cesare Lombroso, the causes and effects of criminal behavior can be directly observed. Lombroso opposed that crimes are due to human free will as criminal behavior can be inherited; that there are people who are “criminal type” of persons; that criminals are physiologically different if compared to the non-criminals; that these criminals have observable physical ...Show more


To appreciate the importance of the benefits and legacy of the Chicago School of criminology, this writer opted to discuss briefly some of the theories that ruled criminology before Chicago School came into place.
Criminology involves inter-disciplinary fields which include…
Author : evie58
Critically evalute the legacy of the Chicago School of Criminology
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