Explore BrainMass

Positivism and Classical Criminology

What impact have positivism and the classical school of criminology had on the basic structure of the criminal justice system and the focus of its policies? Review the following criminal justice strategies and explain whether they are more congruent with the ideas of positivism or the classical school:
- Three strikes laws
- Vocational training for offenders
- Mandatory minimum sentences
- The insanity defense
- The death penalty

Explain the specifics about the penalties that led to your opinion. In addition, explain whether you think most policies in the system have the goal of:
- Using punishment or threat of punishment to deter people from committing crime.
- Trying to prevent criminal behavior or correct and treat it once it occurs.

Use references cite sources.

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com August 21, 2018, 1:47 pm ad1c9bdddf

Solution Preview


The classical school of criminology has had the greatest impact on the structure of criminal justice in the United States because it placates that the punishment should fit the crime and that people are only deterred from criminal behavior when punishment is in proportion to the criminal behavior committed. In contrast, positivism has been thoroughly refuted by theorists as the notion that how a person looks can determine if they will engage in crime is false and was predicated upon racist ideology. Rehabilitation of criminals can be attributed to positivism as the father of this ideology was an advocate for rehabilitating offenders as opposed to only punishing them for their behavior as he realized that punishment without rehabilitation would only ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses issues related to positivism and classical criminology.