Trends and Punishments in Criminology

The Major Schools of Criminology

            In the middle of the 18th century, Philosophers gained new insights in criminology as an aspect of social development. A more rational and humane approach was adopted to do away with the cruelty effected on the criminals. Initially, the society and government authority coerced the criminals to undergo brutal public executions which were perhaps designed to scare people into obedience. Scholars thought up of some schools which would later be used as frameworks of examining criminal offenses. The two major schools of thought in criminology are the Classical school and the Positivist School of criminology. It is from the two major points of view that other diverse schools eventually emerged. Majorly, the classical theory focuses on the actor or the criminal while the positivist theory focuses on the offense. This is a Student Sample ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

The two theories differ in several dimensions broadly depending on where the emphasis of the argument is laid and the final influence on the involved (Canals, 2012). The classical approach was the first move away from the myth that crime is equivalent to a sin. This exhibited a shift from basing punishments on a spiritual level to a more rationalized and an authority based point of view. In contrast, positivist theory downgraded the classical principles to adopt a statistically based approach (Canals, 2012). The positivists evaluate the societal dynamics to ascertain the characteristics which are most likely to cause crime.

The classical theory of criminology is founded on the assertion that people have a free will in making decisions (Canals, 2012). An individual can freely choose either the right or the wrong without coercion. The theory also presupposes that punishments are perfect tools for deterring crimes. However, to meet this assumption, the retribution should be carried out with no postponement and should be directly proportional to the crime committed. Also, the theory claims that despite the fact that human beings are pleasure-seeking creatures, they are highly rational. Moreover, even though people are pre-programmed to act out of their own selfishness, they can use a more suitable approach to befit any given situation. Plainly, people are judged by this theory as moral beings with unqualified autonomy/freedom to choose between the wrong and the right.

According to the classical school, when a person commits a crime, the act is presumed to have been committed out of one’s free will (Canals, 2012). In this view, people ought to be judged for their wrongdoings. Nonetheless, the theory asserts that a well-rounded administration should impose punishments and rules that allow people to suitably review the decisions they can make in particular situations.

The Positivists, on the other hand, hold a different point of view that denounces rational liberty for the measurement and quantification of criminality (Canals, 2012). Positivism presumes criminal acts are triggered by psychological and social factors. This makes some individuals to be more vulnerable to criminality than others. Ideally, people are inherently good. However, the consequence of their surrounding shapes them into being socially good or bad (Canals, 2012). Due to this, the positivist theory rejects the argument of the classical theory that crimes are as a result of choice after a due evaluation of the pros and cons.

Social and Political Trends in Criminology.

The enlightenment brought about by the prevailing social and political climate is likely to result in major changes in the field of criminology. The contemporary trends in the modern societies are inspiring to great extent new thoughts in crime origins and the most appropriate response to the criminal acts. Ideally, some dimensions of reasoning in criminology may become obsolete in the future.

Socially, the modern societies are increasingly getting populated by people of diverse cultures and races. This often changes the nature of crimes in the modern societies. The population pressure contributes to the transfer of crime amongst individuals (Johnson & Groff, 2014). This can be explained by the social learning theory. Politically, the administrative organizations are often involved in conflicts majorly characterized by different ideologies. The government constitutes the arms charged with the responsibilities to make and pass bills concerning criminology and also ensure that the laws are appropriately implemented. These are the modern day broader perspectives in the political and social arena shaping criminology. This makes the discipline to portray a dynamic nature just like the social and the political fields. The most recent researches are more centered on the racial facet of crime and punishment as well as the political connotations and the effects of the increasing rates of arrest and confinement in democratic states. This is a Student Sample ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

The modern world, due to advancements in technology, is gradually changing to a global village. Crimes are no longer open and petty as they used to be. The Criminal Investigation Units ought to adopt the most current technologies to ease the process of tracking criminals. The new technologies have come forth with more advanced crimes in the society. The societies did not show any laxity in incorporating this into their systems and swiftly moved to incorporate integrate cybercrime in their structures. Additionally, the mix of races and cultures is a major social factor affecting the view of criminology.

The inhabitants of specific geographical locations no longer take the mix of cultures lightly. Some verbal sentiments initially hurtless are currently taken as inciting comments (Slocum-Bradley, 2013). Perhaps people are growing over conscious and more sensitive on matters concerning their cultures. This calls for the criminological sectors to undertake a thorough probing on such and be sure to render the most appropriate judgment. The social life and criminology are intertwined and separable. Thus any change in the social sector leads to a corresponding alteration in criminology.

As researchers continually get interested in the political proceedings, attitudes, and behaviors, the political analysts interconnect with the discipline of criminology in the study of organizations that make and implement crime laws and policies. The political scientists also explore the different views and the political conduct of citizens relative to the criminal acts and criminal justice. Contemporarily, the approach takes different forms including the exploration of the reciprocal relationship linking the electoral systems and the criminal laws. In the modern world, the political approaches to criminology share a basic understanding of criminal acts and criminal justice as political effects that are profiled by political organizations, behaviors, and attitudes.

In order to gain the accurate and reliable insights in the field of criminology, states ought to adopt a dialectic approach. For this reason, nations ought to avoid the predominant overdependence on legal, anthropological and sociological aspects that do not seem to lay much focus on understanding how the political factors tackle crime issues. When dealing with political processes both the interests of the citizens and government institutions should be considered. It is quite interesting that the victims of political violence are the most likely to engage in politics than non-victims (Johnson & Groff, 2014).

In the past, concentration was laid primarily on courts, prisons and policing as political institutions. The most basic questions were connected to public and political reactions to crime rates, the execution of crime policies and how the criminal justice organizations dealt with the heightening rates of criminal acts. Later, with the acknowledgment of the increasing confinement rates and soaring ‘tough crimes’ the approach to policymaking, specifically in the USA and thereafter in other developing democracies, researchers shifted their attention to the political mechanisms that resulted in crimes. Precisely, there is currently less focus on the criminal justice organizations and more on the various political dynamics that compel laws and policies. Such include the partisan management of legislatures, the existence of the minority lawmakers, public opinions, and interest groups dynamics, the connection between the elite and the minority lawmakers and the social movements.

The Cruel and Most Unusual Punishments

  Perhaps, there are some punishments which are currently being practiced that we might regret someday. To be precise, we are living in the age of fear, and hence we do not do the right for the goodness sake but because we fear the consequences of the wrong (Radelet & Akers, 2008). Ideally, punishments are healthy to ensure order in the modern countries. However, some punishments are far much unrealistic and immoral to be practiced on the human nature (Dieter, 2009). Some punishments are very cruel, unusual, outdated and very wrong.

Capital punishment is the most unusual, unjustified and barbaric punishment even for the most horrible criminals (Dieter, 2009). Electrocution, hanging, stoning beheading and shooting by firing squads are at times the most favored capital punishments in the world. These executions are often performed in an extremely open to public manner. According to the United Nations human rights specialists, this does not serve any legitimate purpose but rather increases the cruelty, inhumanness which degrades the nature of the sentence. Capital punishment violates the right to live. It also portrays a gross disrespect to human dignity (Dieter, 2009). The exposure to capital punishment should be put to an end lest we end up regretting having destroyed human lives. It is neither moral nor legal. This is a Student Sample ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW


In conclusion, the facts and thoughts of the past in criminology should help predict and formulate new insights for the future. More appropriate approaches of dealing with crimes should be adopted rather than scaring people to righteousness through severe punishments. The incorporation of critical criminology in the broad discipline of criminology is likely to challenge the outdated understandings and reveal the false beliefs surrounding criminology. This can be effectively be achieved through often but not limited by taking a conflict based viewpoints, such as the critical theory, feminism Marxism, and the political economy theory.


Canals, J. M. (2012). Classicism, Positivism and Social Defense. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 80(6), 541-550.

Dieter, R. C. (2009). Smart on Crime: Reconsidering the Death Penalty in a Time of Economic Crisis. Washington, DC: The Death Penalty Information Center.

Johnson, S. D., & Groff, E. R. (2014). Strengthening Theoretical Testing in Criminology Using Agent-based Modeling. Journal of Research in Crime and, 51(4), 510-523.

Radelet, M. L., & Akers, R. L. (2008). Deterrence and the Death Penalty: The Views of the Experts. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 87(1), 1-16.

Slocum-Bradley, N. R. (2013). Taking Stock of the Field:. International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, 1(1), 114-128.


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