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soc_275__classical_criminological_theories_.docx-Demonological theory - Supernatural explanation of
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soc_275__classical_criminological_theories_.docx-Demonological theory - Supernatural explanation of
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Demonological theory
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Supernatural explanation of criminality
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Dominated early explanations of crime into the 18th century
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Criminals were believed to be sinners
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Determinism
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Salem Witch Trials in Puritan New England
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Spanish inquisition
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Morality
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Classical theory
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Rational choice and deterrence
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Jeremy Bentham
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Individual is viewed as entirely rational
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Hedonism and utilitarianism
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Maximize pleasure and minimize pain
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Felicific calculus:
the greatest happiness shared by the greatest
number
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Cesare Beccaria
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Law should be made by legislatures and they should be specific
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The seriousness of the crime should be determined by the harm it inflict
on society
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Punishment should be based on the crime and its ability to deter
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Punishment should not exceed that which is necessary for deterrence
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Excessive severity in punishment often increases crime that is then
committed in order to avoid punishment
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Capital punishment should be abolished
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All should be treated equally before the law
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The role of the criminal justice systems is to serve as a system of punishment
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The system should punish offenders in a manner that is impartial,
equitable, and proportionate to the crime committed
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Can be traced back to the “classical school” of criminology
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Actors are rational and act on their on free will
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Emphasizes free will and rationality on the part of the criminal
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People are 100% responsible for their actions
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Assumes hedonism
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Pleasure principle
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Assumption that the main purpose of life is to maximize pleasure while
minimizing pain
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Key ideas of punishment as retribution
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Punishment must be impartial and proportional
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Two key determining factors:
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Level of the harm caused by the offense


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The culpability of the harms caused
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Critiques
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Robs judges of discretionary power
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Application of graduated punishment reflecting the seriousness of crime
implementation becomes problematic
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Neoclassical theory
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Admits environmental, psychological, and other mitigating circumstances as
modifying conditions to classic doctrine
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Rational choice theory
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Individual positivism
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Offenders weigh the opportunities, costs, and benefits of particular crimes
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A number of factors may constrain choice
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Admit that behavior is only partly rational but that most offenders know quite
well what they are doing
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Deterrence theory
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Mandatory sentencing policies all reflect the assumption that the criminal is a
rational actor and will be deterred by more severe and certain punishment
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Deterrence policy Assumes rationality on the part of the actors
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Specific deterrence serves to discourage a particular individual from
repeating a crime and general deterrence targets others
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Ecological theory
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Social determinist
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The ecological school is also referred to as the statistical, geographic, or
cartographic school
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Key authors
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Cesare lombros
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AM guerry
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Geography
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Violence and personal crimes were higher in rural areas
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Adolphe quetelet
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Poverty
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Crime increases when an individual passes in an abrupt way from a
state of ease to misery and to insufficiency in satisfying all the
needs which he has created
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Climate
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Thermic law of crime
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Economic theory
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Economic determinism
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Karl marx and class analysis
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William bonger: criminal law and class


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