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Examine Classical theory and Psychological Positivism and explore their influence on the modern criminal justice system
6 Pages • Essays / Projects • Year: Pre-2018
Classical theory and Psychological Positivism are two schools of thought that have an influence on the modern criminal justice system, with differing perspectives regarding the theoretical bases and the practical methods “designed to prevent antisocial conduct or behaviour of political significance” (Canals 1960, p.541). White and Perrone (2015, p.55) states that in Classical theory, the source of criminality is located within the rational individual who has autonomy and the capability of reasoning, and sees it as a matter of choice and intent by the offender. On the other hand, the school of Psychological Positivism locates the source of criminality within individuals with maladaptive behavioural characteristics, antisocial personality disorder or mental illness that result in defective reasoning and the inability to self-regulate. As we shall see below, the main catalyst that allowed the two theories to become so influential throughout the 20th and 21st century were their distinctive beliefs. In the case of Classical theory, it preached for the modernisation of the existing criminal justice system to make it more accessible to the general public, thus supporting a society devoted to the welfare, prosperity and security of all its members. On the contrary, Psychological Positivism advocates for the continuation of empirical and scientific research of crime. The distinctive beliefs of the two theories have inspired many nations around the world to introduce legal reforms and innovations within its criminal justice system.
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