Difference / Distinction between Classical School of Criminology and Positive School


Classical School

Positive School

It was a 18th century dogma which attempted to reform the criminal justice system in order to protect criminals against arbitrary discretion of judges.  

It was a 19th century doctrine which emphasized on scientific method of study and shifted emphasis from crime to criminal and from retribution to corrective method of treatment.


The main exponents of classical school were Beccaria and Bentham.

The main exponents of Positive School were Lambroso, Ferri and Garofalo.


This school defined crime in legal terms.

It rejected legal definition of crime and preferred sociological definition.


It placed reliance on free-will theory as an explanation of crime.

It explained crime in terms of biological determination.


It believed in deterrent and definite punishment for each offence and equal punishment for all criminals committing same offence.

It advocated treatment method for criminals instead of punishment and held that criminal be punished according to to the gravity of his crime but according to the circumstance associated with it.


It focused greater attention on crime, namely, the act rather than the criminal.

It is laid greater emphasis of the offender rather than his criminal act.


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