Criminal Justice 505
Grambling State University
According to C. Wright Mills, the Sociological Imagination is a way of understanding human behavior by applying personal experiences to social structures and the merging of these two. Social Imagination involves personal troubles and social issues. Issues affect large groups of people and come from the structure of society. Social structure is a pattern of behavior, relationships, and institutions that make up society. Troubles are private problems from events in your own life. History of an institution is important to understand where we are today.
Criminal imagination refers to how we gain our knowledge. It is believed criminal behavior is learned in interaction through socialization within intimate personal groups. Crime control and punishment is shaped by social influences that determine gravity of the act. Personal experiences and social historical conditions enable us to see how seemingly personal aspects of our life are in fact influenced by broader social historical conditions, there is a connection between them. Both try to understand the social economic conditions that construct crime and its acknowledgement to crime. Every social outcome has a social cause.
The classical school of criminology was developed in the eighteenth century. There were two main contributors to this theory of criminology and they were Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham. Classical School of Criminology emphasizes the ideas people make, the choices to commit crime and that punishment should be about preventing future crime from happening again. Cesare Beccaria took a more rational approach to punishment. He believed that behavior is purposeful and not motivated by supernatural forces. Punishment should be proportional to the seriousness of the crime. Jeremy supported Cesare beliefs in improving the criminal justice system. Beccaria and Bentham established the idea of crime prevention measures and due process before punishment as surety. The conventional belief of criminology indicated criminals induce crime for the sake of pleasure and pain. Classical thinkers support means of prevention to deter future crimes and reject capital punishment and the death penalty as punishment. The purpose of classical philosophy is to create a standard belief for the benefit of society. As a result, classical criminology believes criminals exhibit impulsive behavior that leads to peril in society.
Neoclassical criminology focused on individual rights, due process, alternative sentencing and legal rights. Derived from the late 1800s, the neoclassical thinkers focused on the nature of the crime more than the individual. Later, neoclassical believers relied on scientific proof, the motivation of crime and consequences. Furthermore, individuals have no free will when they commit crime neoclassical theory suggests crimes need due process of the law. As an example, liberty, search and seizure, imprisonment, trials, sentencing, self-incrimination and interpreters are part of the criminal system today.
Introduction to Sociology. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://freesociologybooks.com/Introduction_To_Sociology/02_Sociological_Imagination.php
Classical School of Criminology: A Foundation of Today’s Criminal Justice System. (2014, June 04). Retrieved from https://russiarobinson.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/classical-school…
Teacher, Law. (November 2013). The Classical School of Criminology. Retrieved from https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/criminology/the-classical-school-of-criminological.php?vref=1
Jeffery, C. R. (1956). The Structure of American Criminological Thinking. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 14.