Criminology Matthew

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Regarding topic of positivist vs classical and the history of criminal theory.  This subject has been studied as far back as the mid 19th century with some interesting conclusions on the positivist side of the house.  Based off of increasing French recidivism rates in the late 19thcentury, a number of theories began to take hold.  Some French philosophers and researchers attributed the increase in recidivism to pathological effects based on an individual’s heredity (Beirne, 1987). 

Taking this theory a step further, Italian researchers came up with the idea of the “criminal man” and that individuals could be “born” criminals. In a study of 832 Italians, a theory called Lombrosiamism determined that criminals (men and women) posses certain characteristics such as thin hair, lack of strength, low brows and limited cranial capacity, eventually comparing them to savages (Beirne, 1987).  Fortunately this thought process was not adopted by most critical thinkers, although it had significant effect on how individuals were perceived and treated.


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