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NCJ Number: 136132 Find in a Library
Title: Whose Prophet Is Cesare Beccaria? An Essay on the Origins of Criminological Theory (From Advances in Criminological Theory, Volume 2, P 1-14, 1990, Williams S Laufer and Freda Adler, eds. -- See NCJ-136131)
Author(s): G O W Mueller
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Transaction Publishers
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Sale Source: Transaction Publishers
Rutgers-the State University
140 West Ethel Road
Units L-M
Piscataway, NJ 08854
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Cesare Beccaria's 18th century essay on crime and punishment applied hedonistic doctrine to penology and emphasized deterrence and just deserts.
Abstract: Students of criminology have found Becarria's principles to be based on the theory of free will, a society of rational human beings, and hedonism. Beccaria contended that the aim of punishment is to prevent future crime through deterrence and incapacitation. He said that punishment must be strictly delimited so that it is proportionate to the crime committed and the harm done. He further posited that society is comprised of groups who are in conflict with each other and that the law represents an institutionalized tool of the ruling class. He also indicated that criminality is not strictly a biological, psychological, or even behavioral phenomenon, but rather a social status defined by the way in which an individual is perceived, evaluated, and treated by legal authorities. Beccaria aimed at a scale of punishments to correspond to the gravity or weight of given criminal actions and recognized that criminal justice alone cannot prevent criminality. In addition, he believed in the protection of human rights, as reflected in his staunch support for legality in criminal law, his total rejection of torture in any form, his view of gender equality, and his demand for the humane treatment of prisoners. Further, Beccaria condemned cruel and and unnecessary infliction of pain for the sake of punishment, rejected capital punishment, and supported the political independence of the judiciary and open and public trials. 45 references and 5 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology theory evaluation
Index Term(s): Crime control theory; Deterrence; Just deserts theory; Punishment; Social control theory
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