Running Head: Theory and Crime Prevention

Classical School

The classical school of criminal theory is very different, from its counterpart the school known as the positivist school of criminal theory. Classical school of criminal theory was formed around the earlier 1700’s and there were not any laws to follow what so ever, so whatever crime that were committed they decided your punishment. The theory during this time period this is how you were treated when a crime was committed whether you were guilty or innocent and the punishment during that time you were either beheaded, hung, or even tortured in any form. The punishment during this era most of the time didn’t fit the crime, I am sure there might not have been any type of legal system in place like we do in modern times.

Positivist School

The positivist school of criminal theory was completely different, this theory came after the classical school theory, their views were much better than the classical school. They wanted to put law and order in place which included moral beliefs, ways of understanding the system, like their counterpart they didn’t believe in giving prison sentences, they were more violent I believe that the positivist school which had a better understanding about law, so they wanted to try a fair way on how to deal with the crimes and give punishment that fitted the crime and have them come back into to society once they served their time and function within normal society.

Society Laws

The laws of today’s society I feel is a part of both theories; from the classical and the positivist, the reason for say this is in modern times we still give punishment that doesn’t suit the crime committed. Our legal system isn’t perfect but still at times the punishment is harsh, for example if an individual commits a crime like drug trafficking, the sentence they will receive is life without the possibility of parole. The three examples which can be used are the rational choice theory, routine activities theory and cultural criminology theory, these theories will now be discussed briefly. Rational choice theory can be described as a small part of the classical theory which simply means nothing more than the study which involves the study of human behaviors. The example of rational choice theory involves human emotions as well. The other example is the routine activities theory, this theory happens to deal with more things such as where one lives environment which may tell about one’s criminal intentions, like if they maybe more likely subject to criminal activities. Finally, the other one is known as cultural criminology theory this in a nut shell could be explained as the antidote for the other two theories it balances them out and put things into place. Example of this theory is dealing with gender, and age and possible the way someone act towards another.

The degree that society’s laws would be good enough to prevent individuals from doing a crime is simple, I believe that with the laws and the punishment guidelines that’s in place is good enough to punish a criminal when they commit a crime, this helps with the deterrence of criminal activity. An example used to show that this work, is an individual being sentence 5-10 years for their first offence for selling of drugs. This sends a message to anyone who thinks of doing a crime to think twice before doing it.

Chosen Crime

The crime that I would like to discuss would be the string of package bombings in the Austin, Texas area, this crime started when an individual started to make package bombs and started mailing them to homes in certain neighborhoods, where the ethnicities consisted mostly of Blacks and Hispanics. This individual would randomly look in the phone book and just pick names, he would send these packages, keep in mind he didn’t know any of these people his main mission was to hurt and kill individuals for no reason, two person ended up being killed, he was suffering from mental issues, this went on for several months until that one faithful night where the police caught up with the bomber on the I-35 where it all came to an end. The bomber blew himself up in his vehicle on the I-35 in Round Rock, Texas on the side of the highway. This was a sad case as several innocent people lost their lives the youngest was a 17-year-old high school student. The change, or changes that could have prevented this from happening would have been the father and friends of this individual could have notified the police, the police could have reached this individual before these deaths and destruction of property happened, these folks could have been still alive today and the bomber could have been in a mental health hospital being treated. The positivist school theory would have worked better in my opinion because with this theory the law enforcement didn’t have much time to talk with this individual to get him the help he needed. It starts with the classical theory, which is a bad way. The changes that could have been made in the case of this crime, would be the educating by the police department and the community coming together to address the situation and come up with a better action plan, to prevent the loss of life of innocent people, and the bomber life as well. now these families have lost love ones and innocent lives were cut short.


The topics in this paper are described and examples were given, with the differences between Classical theory and the Positivist theory discussed. I believe both theories, even in today’s society we still need to practice both forms from each theory, some people are hard headed and need to be taught a server lesson when it comes to crime and the punishment they will receive.


  1. CBS news Austin package explosion (2018). retrieved from the web
  3. Walsh, A., & Jorgensen, C. (2018). Criminology: The
  4. essentials (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  5. Walden University resources retrieved (2018).
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Running Head: Theory and Crime Prevention. (2021, May 27). Retrieved April 19, 2024 , from

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