ICCB (Module 1) - Classical and Neo-Classical School
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ICCB (Module 1) - Classical and Neo-Classical School

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Module I: Definition, description, and historical perspectives.

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    ICCB (Module 1) - Classical and Neo-Classical School ICCB (Module 1) - Classical and Neo-Classical School Presentation Transcript

    •  The classical school came into existence in the middle of the eighteenth century, a time in history when punishment for crime was severe and very intense. Two famous writers during this classical period were Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) and Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
    •  The Classical school of thought was premised on the idea that people have free will in making decisions, and that punishment can be a deterrent for crime, so long as the punishment is proportional, fits the crime, and is carried out promptly. It started in Europe. Throughout Europe the use of torture to secure confessions and force self-incriminating testimony had been widely spread.
    •  The classical writers accepted punishment as a principle method of infliction of pain, humiliation and disgrace to create „fear‟ in man to control his behavior. The founders of this school , however, considered prevention of crime more important than the punishment for it. So they stressed on the need for a criminal code. So the real contribution of this school was that it underlined the need for a well defined criminal justice system.
    • Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) He believed that :Punishment should be deterrent than retributional The law should be codified (written) with punishments prescribed in advance. Punishment should be limited (less harsher) to only that necessary to deter people from ever committing it again (no capital punishment). Punishment should be severe, certain, and swift. The criminal justice system should be organized around crime prevention.
    • Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) He believed that: The punishment reduced future devianceby instilling a fear of punishment in thecriminal offender and society.Punishment should be just a bit in excessof the pleasures derived from the act andnot higher than that.
    •  The major shortcoming of the classical school was that it proceeded on an abstract presumption of free will and relied solely on that act without paying attention to the state of mind of the criminal. It erred in prescribing equal punishment for same offence thus making no distinction between first offenders and habitual criminals.
    •  The „free will‟ theory of classical school did not survive for long. It was soon realized that the exponents of classical school faltered in their approach in ignoring the individual differences under certain situation and treating first offenders and habitual alike on the basis of similarity of act or crime.
    •  The neo-classists asserted that certain categories of offenders such as minors, idiots, insane or incompetent had to be treated leniently in matters of punishment irrespective of the similarity of their criminal act because these persons were incapable of appreciating the difference between right and wrong. The advocates of this school started with the basic assumption that man acting on reason and intelligence is responsible for his conduct, But those lacking normal intelligence or having some mental depravity are irresponsible for their conduct.
    •  Though the neo-classists recommended lenient treatment for “irresponsible” or mentally depraved criminals on account of their incapacity to resist criminal tendency but they certainly believed that all criminals, whether responsible or irresponsible, must be kept segregated from the society. Neo-classists adopted subjective approach to criminology and concentrated their attention on the conditions under which an individual commits crime.
    •  This school : Used scientific methods Based on belief that crime results from forces that are beyond the control of the individual Rejected the notion of free will. Instead, focused on socialization, genetics, economic conditions, peer group factors, etc. So, not all persons were completely responsible for their actions.