He wrote that long-term imprisonment and perpetual slavery, or banishment, were more effective deterrents. Cesare Beccaria was an Italian philosopher and thinker who lived during the 18th century. The text forwarded the idea of social contract, which is the belief that the government exists solely to serve the people, and the people are the source of the government's political power.
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This is an important philosophical theory that was more fully developed through the later works of Jeremy Bentham.
Using utilitarianism, Beccaria claimed that criminal punishment should be practical and useful to the people.
Let's look more closely at some of the major points made through On Crimes and Punishments.
Beccaria forwarded two important philosophical theories through his text. Social contract refers to the belief that the government exists solely to serve the people, and the people are the source of the government's political power.
To that end, the punishment need not be any more severe than what is needed to outweigh the advantages of the crime.
For example, it's not useful to give life in prison for a shoplifting case when the shoplifter will be sufficiently deterred by the threat of a month in jail.
Punishment should increase the overall amount of happiness in the world and create a better society.
In Beccaria's time, criminal punishment was often based on retribution. Deterrence is a type of prevention meaning that the threat of punishment outweighs the urge to commit a crime.