J Robert Lilly 2011 Criminological Theory Conflict and Consequences


The Classical School 

Main ideas 

Criminal as Calculator

  • Focus on the individual as an actor who decides to commit crime themself
  • Guided by pain-pleasure principle, risk and reward basis 
  • Punishment suited to offence not social or physial characteristics 
  • Becarria 
  • Bentham- punishment should be used as a deterrent 

The positivist School

Main ideas

Critical as Determined 

  • Looked more for empirical facts to determine the causes of crime away from Becarria and Bentham who focus on free will and hedonism
  • focused on mind and body of criminals (often ignored the social and external factors of the individual)
  • Lombrossos theory of the criminal man, focus on "close study of the anatormy and phisiology of the brain" Wolfgang 1973
  • Influence mainly from evolution and objective sciences
  • Lombrosso believed criminals have characteristics such as the dimensions of their face, their brain structure and other ideas such as tattooing.
  • Twisted noses, ears of unusual size, sloping foreheads, excessively long arms ect
  • These abnormalities were caused by degeneracy passed down, a throwback to an earlier form of evolutionary life
  • Atavism- evolutionary throwback
  • Lombrosso was involved in racist ideas as was common with the time, whites seen as superior and countries colonised seen as lesser than.
  • He blamed white criminality in the slums on primitiveness and people inheriting abnormalities which made them less civilised, more likely to be poor and more likely to commit crime (no link between economic status and crime simply abnormality)
  • This analysis of slums gave white middle class people a sense…


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