Criminology is a scientific study of the nature, cause, extent and control of criminal behavior in both the individual and in society. While a Crime is a wrongdoing classified by the state or Congress as a felony or misdemeanor. In the mid-18th century, criminology arose as social philosophers gave thought to crime and concepts of law. Over time, several schools of thought have developed, which include but are not limited to Classical School, Italian School, and Chicago School. The current school most criminologists belong to is the Chicago School; however, there are still a great many who feel that a sub-cultural theory of deviance is the better explanation of criminogenesis. The two main school of thought, include the Classical School and Chicago School.
The Classical Theory of Criminology developed at the same time as the French Revolution and the beginnings of governments’ use of prisons for punishment with Cesare Baccaria as the founder. The Theory relies heavily on deterrence as the way to stop criminal behavior. It believes that individuals decide to act criminally regardless of irrationality. Because of this, the best way to deter criminal behavior is to make punishment certain.
The Chicago Theory on the other hand was developed in the 1920’s by professors at the University of Chicago, postulates that social ecology contributes to criminal behavior. Specifically, with higher concentrations of poverty and isolated social groups, crime rates increase. What results in these neighborhoods is social disorganization, which leads to increased criminal behavior. Associated with this Theory is the theory that criminal behavior can be learned by other residents in such areas.
This project will be concern only on the classical school of thought with the founder Cesare Baccaria as a case study. He stipulates that Crime occurs when the benefits outweigh the cost, when people pursue self interest in the absence of effective punishments.