Classical School of criminology Summary

The tenets of Cesare Lombroso as the proponent of biological determinism theory, Mike Rowe as an advocate of racially sensitive community policing, Lee Ellis as a representative of biosocial school of criminality, and Anthony Walsh, who suggests a multidisciplinary approach to criminology, are distinguished by varying approaches to the importance of biological and environmental factors in defining the likeliness of criminal behavior.

However, all of them agree that scientific study and quantification of criminal activity are essential for understanding causes and consequences of crime as well as for formulating adequate responses to this problem. In this regard, they all reject the teaching of Classical School of criminology that holds crime to be a feature of human nature; instead, all four researchers focus their attention on factors that make certain individuals or groups of people more inclined towards criminal behavior than ordinary members of public-at-large.

In a certain way, all four scholars address the issue of evolution v. degeneration. While Cesare Lombroso speaks of biological devolution, later research mostly focuses on the role of social environment in the development of certain models of behavior that can lead to criminal activity. However, biological determinants are not totally dismissed in recent research.

For instance, such factors as race or ethnicity play a role in defining criminal behavior: minority groups that are excluded from society and face continuous stigmatization are likely to develop subcultures that promote criminal activity. Therefore, it is possible to regard crime as being linked to personality. However, it is of paramount importance to view personality as a complex, multifaceted phenomenon defined to a large extent by social environment. Policy implications of this statement are related to the need to promote better policing and more client-oriented approaches to rehabilitation.