Classical criminology is considered to be the first formal school of criminology. Critical Criminology is associated with early reforms to the administration of justice and the prison system. Classical criminology had developed as a question about punishment and neo-classical criminology as a question about the criminal.
Associated with authors such as Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794), Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), Samuel Romilly (1757-1818), and others, classical criminology brought the emerging philosophy of liberalism and utilitarianism to the justice system, advocating principles of rights, fairness and due process model in place of retribution, arbitrariness and brutality. Classical and positive school of criminologies are generally presented as opposite schools of thought.
Critical criminologists see in these reforms a tool by which the new industrial order of capitalism was able to maintain class rule through appearing to apply objective and neutral rules of justice rather than obvious and direct class domination through coercion. Criminal law is stated in terms of moral universals rather than being seen as rules that simply protect the interests of property holders. The claims to fairness in the justice system provide a sense of legitimation for the state and the order it represents.
Classical criminology, derived from the political philosophy of the Enlightenment, views criminal conduct as a matter of human nature. Specifically, criminal behavior is a matter of freewill or choice. The ideas of classical criminology provided the foundation of the American criminal justice system. Current versions of classical criminology include the economic approach, rational choice theory, routine activities and the general theory of crime. - Explaining Criminal Conduct, Paul Knepper Crime and Human Nature - Overview - Chapter 2 - describes classical criminology.
Criminology, Reasons for its Persistence - Klasicna Kriminologija - Razlogi za
Njeno Trdozivo Aktualnost; Kanduc Zoran.
Reason is Not Sovereign: The Function of Reason in Hume and Consequences for the
Classical/Positivist Divide, Rational Choice Theory, Low Self-Control Theory, and the Criminal Propensity
Construct. - Kissner, Michael Jason , PhD Dissertation.