CESARE BECCARIA Born in Milan in 1738 Son of an aristocrat (noble) Law degree from the University of Paris in 1758 Started a study of the justice system in 1763 Wrote a book titled On Crimes and Punishments
THE JUSTICE SYSTEM Harsh practices, including torture to force confessions Thumbscrew – crushed a person’s thumb The Rack – stretched body until the joints pulled apart Trials held in secret – if you were found guilty, could be sentenced to death Judges often corrupt
For a punishment to be just it should consist of only such gradations of intensity as suffice to deter men from committing crimes. "False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. “Crimes are more effectually prevented by the certainty than the severity of punishment”
ON CRIMES AND PUNISHMENT Beccaria attacked these practices in his book Argued that laws existed to keep peace and order Believed that criminals made rational decisions Punishments did not have to be brutal – they just had to be severe enough to keep people from committing crimes
ON CRIMES AND PUNISHMENT, PART 2 The accused have a right to a fair and speedy trial. No torture should be used. People who commit the same crime should get the same punishment. The punishment should fit the seriousness of the crime. Capital punishment, (a death sentence) should be ended.
WHY BECCARIA MATTERS He encouraged the study of crime in a scientific way. His ideas influenced reform movements in Europe. Laws in the U.S. reflect many of his ideas.