➢ It offered the first naturalistic explanation for crime and superseded
centuries of interpreting crime as a supernatural phenomenon.
➢ BECCARIA and BENTHAM were the founding father of classical school.
➢ They completed rejected the idea of pre-classical school of criminology.
➢ Classical school of criminology is completely based on “causation of
➢ The proponders of this school considered prevention of crime is more
important than the punishment for it.
Causation of crime
➢ Causation of crime was explained by 2 different
FREE WILL THEORY : by Beccaria
Human can differentiate between right and wrong
, so they commit crime on their discretion.
➢ Beccaria stated that; ‘It is better to prevent
crimes than to punish them’.
➢ He believed that crime prevention in its effectiveness is down to three main
ideas, these being the certainty of the crime and how likely it is to happen,
the celerity of the crime and how quickly the punishment is inflicted and also
the severity of the crime, and how much pain is inflicted. Beccaria thought
that the severity of the penalties given should be proportionate to the crime
committed and no more than what is necessary in order to deter the offender
and others from committing further crimes.
Beccaria presented nine principles that should guide our thinking about crime and
the way society responds to lawbreakers.To prevent crime a society must;
1. make sure laws are clear and simple,
2. make sure that the entire nation is united in defense,
3. laws not against classes of men, but of men,
4. men must fear laws and nothing else,
5. certainty of outcome of crime,
6. member of society must have knowledge because enlightenment
7. reward virtue,
8. perfect education,
9. direct the interest of the magistracy as a whole to observance rather than
corruption of the laws
HEDONIST THEORY : by Bentham
➢ Assumes that the rightness of an action depends
entirely on amount of pleasure it tends to produce and
the amount of pain it tends to prevent.
➢ He was a utilitarian, interested in the happiness and
well being of the population and therefore believing
that punishment, in the form of the infliction of pain,
should always be justified in terms of a greater good
➢ Bentham believed that crime was committed on the
outset, by individuals who seek to gain excitement,
money, sex or anything of value to the individual.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEORIES
➢ Bentham said that Human with his free will , after differentiating do every
thing which gives him pleasure .
➢ Prevents everything which gives him pain.
➢ Human commits crime for pleasure
This is called Hedonistic calculation of Bentham
➢ According to Bentham’s utilitarianism theory, people are guided by a desire
for pleasure and aversion to pain.
PRINCIPLES OF CLASSICAL SCHOOL OF CRIMINOLOGY
Four important principles are present in the classical school of criminology.
1. The rights and freedom of an individual must be secure.
2. Same punishment should be given to all individuals who have committed the
3. A definite penalty should be attached to each crime and that should
invariably be inflicted as crime is a judicial generalization.
4. Punishment should be restricted to the social need. Its infliction is necessary
so as to prevent others from committing the same crime.
BECCARIA’S CLASSICAL EXPLANATION
➢ Man's behaviour is purposive and unbiased and is based on pleasure-pain
➢ Penalty should be allotted to each crime and the amount of penalty should be
dependent upon the injury caused to public welfare by a crime. Pain should
outweigh any pleasure resulting from the commission of crime.
➢ Sentence should not be very severe and deterrent and it should also be
proportional to crime, pre-determined, prompt and public. Torture should be
abolished, more use should be made of imprisonment instead of corporal
punishment, and a fair trial should be insured.
➢ Application of law should be rationally applied to all citizens.
➢ Courts should only distinguish between innocent and guilty and
subsequently commend the set punishment.
➢ However the main weakness of the classical school of criminological
thinking is that it considers all criminals to be rational and make decisions by
free will, but not all individuals are rational and not all their behaviours are
free, as if an individual had a mental illness or a physical defect, this may
totally change the way in which they act and think.
1. Principle of rationality: human beings have free will and their actions are the
result of choice.
2. Pleasure and pain (or rewards and punishment are the major determinants of
3. Deterrence is the best justification for punishment.
4. Human rights and due process principles.
5. Minimize capital crimes
6.Abolish corporal punishment
7.Degrees of culpability
● BROWN ,ESBENSEN, GEIS: CRIMINOLOGY Explaining Crime and Its
● VN PARANJAPE :CRIMINOLOGY ,PENOLOGY, VICTIMOLOGY