Rehabilitation aims to cure the causes of crime and to
rehabilitate offenders into society, as law abiding citizens (Lilly et all p.
30 2007). Looking at the causes of crime will prevent criminals to stop reoffending.
Individuals have no choice in committing crime, it would be wrong to punish criminals
for actions that are out of their control. All criminals are different, each
criminal must be individualised to meet their specific needs.  Focusing on isolating specific causes will
help to prevent the rise of crime. (McLaughlin and Muncie, 2013. PXX). However,
does rehabilitation work and stop reoffending? Currently in the UK, “44% of
adults reconvicted within one year of release”. There are only a few
rehabilitation programmes inside UK prisons. Most prisons are overcrowded, many
prisoners reoffend, learn new skills and techniques. if rehabilitation is not
applied in prisons, how can you criminals be cured of their illness. However, Classicist
theorists argue that, criminals have ‘free will’, and can make rational choices.
They can decide whether they want to be rehabilitated or not. Rehabilitation
allows ‘born criminals’ to train and be educated to help them succeed in life
and challenging their energies into something that they can benefit from. (Mary
and Nicole 2006 p. 335). A prison in Norway called ‘Bastoy prison’ aims to
rehab criminals to change their behaviour. Criminals are provided with expert
help and various activities to change their ways. “Europe has a reoffending
rate was 72%”, whereas ‘Bastoy Prison’ is at 16%”. This illustrates, that
Rehabilitation does work, and you can cure criminals.

The classical theory suggests that deterrence was not working,
many criminals did not learn from their crimes and punishment. Positivism was
introduced to help the criminally insane and provide help. Punishment, was
wrong according to positivists, they thought that crime is an illness that
needs to be cured. The belief was that criminals needed expert help to analyse
their problems. Treatment would then be advised to cure their criminal
behaviour. Classicists go against this idea and state that the punishment
should be prompt and minimal, depending on the crime committed. Punishment
should be measured, before everybody got the same punishment, but it was not
always justified. In modern day, different punishments are given, depending on
how serious your crime was, e.g. murder; life imprisonment, drugs; differs from
fines, few months in prison

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Sheldon (1949), theory of ‘Somatotypes’ shares the same
concept as Lombroso, that criminal behaviour is linked with persons form and
characteristics. He came up with the idea that there are 3 body types;
Ectomorph(thin), Endomorph (fat), Mesomorph (muscular), (Sammoms pg. 1). He
believed that the body type was linked with aggression and personality and to
have thought that, muscular individuals were prone to crime. The consequence of
this theory could have resulted in many individuals to have been accused of
crime and wrongdoing. In modern day, we are against this type of discrimination
because it could lead to some people being wrongly accused and others being let
off crimes because they do not look suspicious.

Lombroso, another Positivist believed that certain
individuals had key features that set them apart from others. Criminals were
defined on their looks and appearance (Lilly et all p.235. 2007). Different
features such as; tattoos, facial structure, body figure, made you stand out
from others. Lombroso indicated that many criminals had; cranial and
phycological defects, from experiments conducted analysing soldiers and
criminals (Mclaughhin and Muncie. p2, 2013). If you appeared to be different
from the average person you were stigmatised and classed as a criminal, whether
you had committed a criminal act or not.

Positivist believe that certain individuals are born
criminal, and that its within their DNA. Lombroso believed that humans had
different characteristics that defined them as a criminal. (Emma, 2015). Criminals
could not decide to commit a criminal act, as it was in their DNA to commit
crime. In contrast, Cesare Beccaria, a classical theorist said “Man is a
calculating animal”. He ­­believed that ‘criminal acts’ are down to ‘free will’
and ‘rational’ choice (Travis, 2008). Individuals are not born criminals, they
know the difference between right and wrong. If they commit a crime, they
deserve to be punished, according to the crime they had committed. In
comparison to the Classical theory, Positivism fits more with modern day
society because it suggests that it is beyond their control and therefore part
of punishment is actually to allow personal development which benefits the

Over time, there have been many theorists, whom have come up
with different solutions for the reasonings behind crime. Different methods
have been implemented by theorists to back up their ideas and perspectives. This
essay will explore the way ‘positivist’ theory looks at the key concepts of
crime and how it differs from other theories. An influential figure who was the
heart of the theory, was a man named ‘Cesare Lombroso’. Positivism replaced
Classical theory during the 19th century due theorists believing
that deterrence was not working, and more crime was being committed. Positivist
theory is based on a more scientific approach and is based on characteristics
of a human.