What Is Positivist Criminology ?

Positivist criminology is a practice in the field of criminology that focuses on studying the relationship between criminal behavior and any external factors. There are two different types of positivist criminology: individual positivism and sociological positivism.

The theory of positivist criminology relies on the belief that criminal behavior has multiple characteristics and that there are key differences between those who exhibit criminal behaviors and those who do not. There are those who believe that biological or genetic factors play a major causal role for criminal behavior, while others believe that crime is the result of social or economical factors.

Individual positivism focuses on placing the responsibility for criminal behavior directly on the person. It believes criminal behavior can result from personality factors, psychiatric conditions or an individual abnormality. Those who believe in individual positivism also believe that criminal behaviors are treatable using methods such as medication, counseling or therapy, and resocialization. In a way, individual positivism indicates that there is a cure for criminality.

Sociological positivism focuses on linking criminal behavior to social conditions. This can include political or economic conditions as well as social pathology. This practice also believes that criminal behavior can vary based on different economic or political factors across regions. Adherents also believe criminal behavior is treatable but not curable.