This Article has been written by Ilma Khan (a 4th year law student from Jamia Hamdard University)
Table of Contents
Introduction of the School of Criminology:-
To understand Criminology, a person must first know what crime is. Crime means to charge or offence. In simple words Crime is an unlawful act which is punished by the state or any lawful authority. Crime is an act, which is harmful not only to the person but also to the community, society or state. When an act is done or not done in accordance with the public law it is said to be a crime.
Every crime violates the law but not every violation of the law commits a crime. Criminology is the scientific study of crime, criminals and criminal justice. It referred the entire body of knowledge regarding the cause and prevention of crime and the punishment.
The law Lexicon defines it as the study of crimes, their nature and the causes detection and prevention of crimes. The main purpose of criminology is to know the different aspects of crime, which helps in the treatment of criminals, and rehabilitate them again in the society.
According to the Donald Taft;-
Criminology is the study , which includes all the subject matters necessary to understand the crime and prevention of crime with punishment and the treatment.
Schools of criminology
The schools of criminology majorly developed during the 18th and 19th century. There are four popular schools of criminology they are;-
- Pre-Classical or Demonological School
- Classical School
- Positivist School
- Neo-Classical School
- Socialistic School
- Sociological School
Pre- classical or Demonological School:-
The pre-classical school also known as demonological school. During the 17th century the demonological theory flourished in the Europe with the dominance of the church and religion. During this time, there were not much of scientific explanations for the causation of crime and the concept of crime was vague and obscure.
Under the pre-classical school, it is general belief that individual and his actions are controlled by some super powers. Under pre- classical school it was stated that crime and criminals was possessed by the devil or demon. Worship, sacrifice and ordeals by water, fire were usually prescribed method under the pre- classical school of judgement.
There was the concept of judgement of god. Ordeals played a very important role in ancient judicial system in determining the guilt of offender. Ordeals were in the form of throwing into the fire, throwing into water and believed that no harm would be caused if offender was innocent.
The concept of classical school in criminology developed during enlightenment time of 18th century in response to excess and cruel forms of punishment that was dominated at that time.
“Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham were considered as the founding father of classical school of criminology. Bentham stated,“Man is calculating animal” in cause of criminal behaviour. Classical school of criminology favor humanitarian form of punishment. This school was against the cruel or physical punishment. It supports the deterrent theory of punishment. The concept of ‘free will’ is fundamental concept under classical school. According to this thought of school people can differentiate between right and wrong, so people commit crime according to their own free will. According to this thought of school, punishment to the criminals should be given to the proportion of crime and punishment must not be excessive. It is also stated that punishment that is awarded to the criminals must be carried out promptly.
The main drawback of classical school of criminology is that every person irrespective from its age, mental condition, religion, economic condition is punished equally proportional to the crime. In Europe and America, classical school of criminology become foundation of modern criminal justice system, which changes from time to time. Since the introduction of the classical school of criminology and classical thinking, the use of capital punishment, torture and corporal punishment has declined. Neither Beccaria nor Bentham supported such kind of cruel punishment. As many of the ideas championed by Beccaria in such rights as freedom of cruel and unusual punishment, the right to a speedy trial, prohibition of ex post facto laws, the right to confront one’s accuses and equality under law contained in the bills of rights and other documents at the heart of western legal system today.
Principles of Classical School
The concept of free will is rational thinking that goes into his planning to commit a crime.
Crime is committed for the pleasure. Such pleasure is harmful for the society.
Punishment is necessary for the deterrent of crime .People must aware about punishment so they will not commit crime for the pleasure.
- Human Rights:-
Punishment must not be excessive than crime. Physical punishment, death penalty should not be awarded in general crimes.
Positivist school of criminology also known as Italian school of criminology. This school of thought originated in the 19th century and move away from the classical school of thought because there were several drawback in that .Positive School is against the concept of ‘free will theory’.
Positivist school of criminology emphasized on scientific study of the root cause of crime, behavior of criminals and other various internal and external factors, which is responsible for being criminal. According to the positivist school of criminology there are three main causes which is responsible for being a criminal.
- Biological factor: – Physical characteristics of person is responsible for crime. According to the criminologist of this school, criminals have different characteristics than the non-criminals. Generally biological factors are present in person from its birth.
- Sociological factor: – Exploitation and demoralization of deprived or lower class of society is also one of the reason of increasing criminality in the society. There is a need to change of socio-economic structure of the society.
- Psychological factor: – Mental condition of offender is different from non-offender. Ego, perception and revenge are responsible of increasing criminality in the society.
Cesare Lombroso, Raffaele Garofalo and Enrico Ferri were main exponent of positivist school of criminology. All three major supporter of this school and has its own thought in positivist school of criminology.
- Lombroso: – He was the first criminologist who attempted to understand the personality of offenders in physical terms. Lombroso divided criminals into three types of criminals.
- Born Criminals
- Insane Criminals
- Criminoids (those who are of physical type and had tendency to commit crime and in order to overcome and their inferiority.
- Enrico Ferri – He opposed Lombroso theory and stated that other factors such as emotional reaction, social infirmity or geographical conditions are responsible for criminal behavior.
According to Ferri crime is the synthetic product of three main factors such as-
- Physical or geographical
Psychological or Social
Then Enrico Ferri classified criminals into five categories
- Born Criminals
- Occasional Criminals
- Passionate Criminals
- Insane Criminals
- Habitual Criminals
Raffaele Garofalo rejected the classification of Lombroso and Ferri and then he classified the criminals into four categories:-
- Endemic Criminals
- Violent Criminals
- Lustful Criminals
Neo- classical school:-
Neo classical school of criminology developed as a compromised between classical and positivist school of criminology. Before neo classical school all offenders were treated same no matter what is their age , mental condition etc. This was unjust because child and insane person does not have same understanding to distinguish between right and wrong.
Neo- classical school rejected the free will theory and focused on the nature of crime more than individual. Neo classical school of criminologist distinguish between the first offender and habitual offender. Criminologist of Neo- Classical school believe in scientific evidence to determine a just punishment for crimes.
Karl Marx was the founder of socialistic school of thought.One of the major causes of crime according to Karl Marx and Engle was class struggle, which is a product of capitalism. I.e. Rich and Poor.
The rich becomes richer and poor become poorer. This give rise to the class struggle. The people who are belonging to poor community, when they suffer poverty and unemployment then they commit crime to feed themselves to fulfill their bare necessities.
Economic aspects alone are not responsible for the causation of crime. Many persons commit crimes under the sudden provocation or under some other compelling conditions who are done through financially well to do.
- White-collar criminals are exceptions to the above general prepositions of this school.
- Economic aspect is one of the factor of crime but it is alone is not the whole factor of crime.
Sociological school was emerged in the 20th century and thus school thought is whenever a person is commit crime just because of the external factors as no person is born criminal and this school rejected the born criminal concept. As criminal behavior is learnt and conditioned by the social environment.
The main causes of crime as
- Bad association
- Broken family environment
This school explains that society plays a very important role in causation of crime as poverty also influence the person to commit a crime as when a person is not able to meet their basic needs then he will commit the crime. Social factors influence a person to commit the crime. Social factors influence a person to commit a crime.
Social learning theory:- This theory says that people learn criminal behavior from the people around them
Social conflict theory: – This theory says that class warfare is responsible for the crime.
Now here I would like to conclude by saying that, I believe that each of these schools of criminology is important, even if some aspects of them seem bizarre. I believe that criminology would not be as evolved as it is today if Beccaria, Bentham, Lombroso, Tarde, and others associated with these schools did not have their sometimes-radial ways of thinking. I too think Lombroso is insane for claiming that criminals are born to be criminals. I understand that criminality “runs in the family,” but I also understand that there are multiple other factors at play, not simply heredity.