Section 1: Theory of crime
Cesare Beccaria, Classical Theory (Deterrence theory)
A. Theory and theorist description: What are the key points of the theory that you selected? Who developed theory? When was the theory developed? Why did the theorist develop this theory of crime causation?
Classical Criminology sees criminal action as the result of free and rational decisions of the acting individuals.
People are able to freely choose their actions and behavior (as opposed to their offending being driven by socio-economic factors such as unemployment, poverty, limited education and/or addiction).
The offender is capable of assessing the likelihood of getting caught.
The offender knows the likely punishment that will be received.
The offender is able to calculate whether the pain or severity of the likely punishment outweighs the gain or benefit of getting away with the crime.
General and specific deterrence
18th century, Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham, formulated the deterrence theory as both an explanation of crime and a method for reducing it.
B. Theory origin and context (social, political): What was going on at the time this theory was developed? Did these events help shape the theory?
Much of what we call conservative criminal justice policy today is based on the early writings of Beccaria, where he clearly articulates the key elements of a deterrence-based crime control strategy. So yesterday’s radical is today’s conservative. As for Bentham, his contribution can be found in his development of the felicity calculus, which attempted to assign weights to the goodness or badness of all our actions. The modern day example of the use of this calculus can be found by examining Federal and state sentencing guidelines, which rank the seriousness of crimes as one of two factors to consider (along with prior record) when determining sentence type and length
C. Theory application to various types of crime: Is the theory you chose a general theory of crime causation (e.g. Sutherland’s theory of Differential Association), a middle range theory (e.g. A theory applied only to a specific group, such as juveniles, e.g. Cohen’s strain theory), or a crime-specific theory (e.g. homicide—southern violence hypothesis)?
The deterrence theory is a general theory of crime causation.
Section 2: A Review of the Evidence
D. Has the theory been evaluated? If so, how, when, where, and by whom? To conduct your review, you will need to identify and summarize the results of research studies that have tested the theory under review.
The review of the evaluation research, does not support that the crime can be reduced by increasing the number of the police-prison or the use of surveillance or strategies that can control a community from crimes.
E. What does the research reveal?
The research, reveal that the crimes and the violence have been reduced from 1970 until now. Classical assumptions about crime causation are still being used as the basis for current crime control strategies. The fact that, after 40 years, we are still using the deterrence-based crime, means that we have safer communities by using these control polices.
F. What are the strengths and limitations of the theory? Does the theory need to be revised? Is more research needed?
The theory has to be revised because there are some problems, that are still exist. More specifically, there is a disagreement among academics on the source of this decline. A quarter of the crime decline can be linked to tougher sentencing policies, while three quarters of the decline have been attributed to other factors. This is a statement, that the variety of theorists think.
Section 3: Policy Implications
A. According to the theory, how do we solve the crime problem?
secret trials must be abolished and court proceedings accelerated in order to discourage the apparently high level of crime investigation and effective suspension of justice. It also follows, however, that certain particularly serious crimes must continue to be punishable by the death penalty in order to comply with the requirements of proportionality and prevention.
B. Have we tried to solve crime based on this theory?
Yes. Deterrence theory tried to solve criminality.
C. What have we learned from these efforts?
Beccaria stresses that the vast majority of criminal offences should be punishable by imprisonment, since too frequent use of the death penalty leads to brutalization of society and therefore no longer has a deterrent effect.