For those hedonistic few that disregarded laws to seek pleasure, Beccecaria defends that they are innocent until proven guilty, but first, crimes and punishment has to be clear.
When it came to identifying crimes, Beccaria developed three general categories: crimes that threaten the existence of society, crimes that injure the security and property of individuals, and crimes that are disruptive of the public peace and tranquility (Martin et al., 1990).
Cesare Bonesana, Marchese Beccaria is credited as the author of an essay that forever changed the criminal justice system.
Although not a criminologist, Cesare Beccaria first anonymously published Dei delitti e delle pene (On Crimes and Punishment) in July of 1764 and again, this time with him as the author, shortly after.
The points that distinguish the ideas expressed in the Classical School from other schools is the criteria for measuring crimes.
Opposed to taking “intent” into consideration when measuring a crime, Beccaria states that it is the actions of the individual that is of upmost importance.
To illustrate what Beccaria believed, if there was a murder that was committed by an individual, the measurement needed to determine if a crime was committed would solely rely on the fact that the individual indeed committed the murder and not so much on why (intent) the action was committed.
As we can tell by our current criminal justice system, Beccaria’s ideas on the measurement of crime are not used today.
The agents of the criminal law, prosecutors and judges, were allowed tremendous latitude in dealing with persons accused and convicted of crime, and corruption was rampant throughout continental Europe. Several crimes carried with it the death penalty and were executed in public for everyone to see.
The gruesomeness of these executions became the normative throughout Europe.