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Why do people commit crime and deviance

By Tony Coleman,2014-08-10 06:51
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Why do people commit crime and deviance

Why do people commit crime and deviance?

    The above question can be answered by referring to the different theories trying to explain the why of crime and deviance. The following theories of crime and deviance should be discussed in detail in order to conclude on drive of people to commit crime and deviance:

    ; The Physiological or Biological theories of crime and deviance

    ; The psychological theories of crime and deviance

    ; The sociological theories of crime and deviance

The Physiological Theories or Biological theories of crime and deviance.

    Most Physiological or Biological theories of crime and deviance argue that particular individuals are more prone to deviance than others because of their genetic make-up. Genetically inherited characteristics either directly cause or predispose them towards deviance. The following researchers can be considered for an elaboration of this theory:

    ; Cesare Lombroso criminals had peculiar bodily characteristics

    ; Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck the type of physical build predispose people to crime

    ; Klinefelter’s Syndrome – British criminologist identifying the Y chromosome for being

    delinquent

    ; Henry E. Kelly Chemical Imbalances in the body like Hypoglycemia, can lead to crime

    and deviance

    However Physiological or Biological theories of crime and deviance have been highly criticized. The criticism should be listed at the end of the elaboration.

    ; Cesare Lombroso criminals had peculiar bodily characteristics(Evolutionary Theory)

     thCesare Lombroso, an Italian Doctor of the 19 century scientific explanations of human

    behaviour was a researcher who tried to link biology to crime, thus explaining the criminal drive according to the biological make-up. Lombroso, in his book L’Uomo Delinquente(1876), argued

    that criminals were throwbacks to an earlier and more primitive form of human being. He claimed to have identified a number of genetically determined characteristics which were often found in criminals. The genetically determined characteristics are large jaws, high cheek bones, large ears, extra nipples, toes and fingers, and an insensitivity to pain. He thought that these were the external signs of a potential criminal. Thus the key concept that he used was atavism: that is criminality was typical of less-developed individuals.

Criticism:-

    Lombroso’s Theory was criticized to be a primitive biological freak. His theory seems to be old fashioned but it has created certain form of stereotypes regarding the external look of criminal which is still being use by movie producers, villains are usually presented as having such characteristics. This theory is linked to racism, dark skin of criminals, while he did not refer to Blacks being criminals. It was also thought that non-europeans were most likely to be criminals. The samples that Lombroso used for his study was unrepresentative because he focused only on Italian Criminals who were jailed compared to a disciplined group of soldiers.

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    ; Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck the type of physical build predispose people to crime

    The Gluecks supported Lombroso’s theory of biological determination by claiming to have found a causal relationship between physical build and delinquent activity. They argue that the bodily construction of people predispose them to crime. Thus people having a ‘mesomorphic’

    body type, that is stocky and rounded individuals, tend to be more active and aggressive than those of the other builds. The ‘mesomorph’ are prone to commiting crimes

Criticism:-

    The same criticism as Lombroso can be applied to the Gluecks explanation of crime and deviance because this theory also tend to develop stereotypes of criminals. Thus it is wrong to jail innocent people having this bodily construction in order to prevent crimes. Taylor, Walton and Young argued that the lower working class children, who are mostly found in the criminal statistics, are also by virtue of diet, continual labour, physical fitness and strength, more likely to be mesomorphic.

    ; Klinefelter’s Syndrome British criminologist identifying the Y chromosome for being

    delinquent

    Modern biological theories are more likely to be concerned with biochemistry and genetics than with what people look like. British criminologist like Klinefelter believed they had found the precise genetic cause of criminality, that is chromosome abnormalities. Chromosomes transmit inherited characteristics from parents to children. Normally females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y. Occasionally some males may have an extra chromosome, that is an additional Y, thus XYY(males). A number of researchers found that there was an unusually high proportion of men with this chromosomal abnormality in high security prisons for the mentally ill.

-Females - XX

    -Normal Males - XY

    -Criminal Males - XYY

Criticism:-

    If there are a particular gene responsible for the commission of crime, then individuals would say that they are not wholly responsible for their criminal acts because the defective gene forced them to commit crimes. They would say it’s not me it’s my gene which is responsible.

    Furthermore to reduce crime or prevent it, it will be very simple. People with the extra chromosome should be prevented to have children and this would not be acceptable in a democratic or religious society like Mauritius. This theory sounds like the Nazis’ attempts to get

    rid of the defective gene. This theory cannot explain non-violent crimes like shop lifting and is utterly masculine in nature.

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    ; Henry E. Kelly Chemical Imbalances in the body like Hypoglycemia, can lead to

    crime and deviance

    Biochemical theories of crimes advanced by researchers like Kelly believes that chemical imbalances in the body can cause crime. People having ‘Hypoglycemia’, a conditionin which there is too much sugar in the bloods, leads sufferers to commit crimes. Vitamin deficiencies may, according to Kelly, have the same effect. Others argue that criminals have lower levels of Serotonin, a brain chemical which lessens aggressivity, which make them more aggressive.

Criticism:-

    Chemical imbalances are partly the result of inherited characteristics but they may also be caused by environmental factors such as poor diet. Thus as the number of diabetics are very high in Mauriritius, it would have been normal to have many criminal in here. But contrarily to this theory not all diabetics are criminals. Holborn and Makin point out, ‘A diabetic at work without a recent insulin injection approaching the lunch break may become tense, erratic, short tempered, but that behaviour does not constitute a criminal act’.

The Psychological Theories of crime and deviance.

    The Psychological Theories of crime and deviance share certain similarities with biological theories. They see the deviant as different from the population as a whole and the adnormality predisposes him or her to deviance.

    However psychological theories differ in that they see the deviant’s sickness and abnormality as lying in the mind rather than the body. The following Psychologist can be considered as be reference to the explanation of this theory;

    ; Hans Eysenck individuals inherit different personality which predisposes them to

    crime(personality theory).

    ; John Bowlby criminals are people who lack emotional security (maternal deprivation)

    ; Pre-Menstrual Tension(PMT) the predisposition of females for crime

    However Psychological theory of crime and deviance have been highly criticized. The criticism should be listed at the end of the elaboration.

    ; Hans Eysenck individuals inherit different personality which predisposes them to

    crime(personality theory).

    Hans Eysenck, the British Psychologist, has incorporated the physiological element in his theory but laid much emphasis on the mental processes. He said that there exist a link between genetically based personality characteristics and criminal behaviour. He claimed that individuals inherit different personality traits which predisposes them to crime. Thus criminality is an inherited characteristics like personality and intelligence. Eysenck believed that there are two basic personalities, the introvert and the extrovert, in which people are born with. Introverts are shy and quiet whereas extroverts are confident and outgoing. He believed that the extroverts are more likely to be criminals because they were more likely to get into situations where they might get into trouble, ‘he craves excitement, takes chances, often sticks his neck out, acts on the spur

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of the moment and is generally an impulsive individual’. They are also harder to be socialized

    into the norms, values and laws prevalent and social control has less hold upon them.

    ; John Bowlby criminals are people who lack emotional security (maternal deprivation)

    Bowlby does not believed that deviance was inherited but that deviance resulted from negative influence during childhood. in his book, Forty-four Juvenile Thieves, he maintained that children needed emotional security during the first seven years of their lives. This could only be provided by the person who is closest to them that is their biological mother. He says that if a child was deprived of this emotional security and motherly love in childhood, the person could develop a psychopathic personality.

    Bowlby conducted a number of studies of juvenile delinquents and found that the most psychologically disturbed had experienced separation from their mothers at an early age. Many had been raised in orphanages and as a result had been deprived of maternal love. They appeared unable to give or receive love and seemed compelled to adopt a career of destructive and anti-social relationships.

    According to him psychopaths are persons who tend to act impulsively and on the spur of the moment. They have little regard for the consequences of their actions. Psychopaths rarely feel guilty and showed little response to punishment or treatment. Thus trying to apply social control to correct such persons will not work out effectively. According to Bowlby, delinquents who are chronic recidivists are persons who have suffered from maternal deprivation during their early years. Such persons could have been raised in orphanages and has had no intimate relationship with a mother figure.

    Bowlby conclude that it is essential for mental health the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate and continuous relationship with his mother.

    ; Pre-Menstrual Tension(PMT) the predisposition of females for crime

    Psychologists have tried to determine the causes of female crimes. They claimed that women reaching menstruation are stress, become irrational and impulsive. Thus the stress cuased by the pre-menstrual tension is prone to lead to criminal bahaviour because during this period women are not able to control their behaviour. They argue that 80% of most female crimes occurs around the period of menstruation.

Criticism:-

    This theory was said to fits exactly the male stereotype of female criminal. The stress occurring around the pre-menstrual period has always been used negatively by males to exploit and differentiate against women. This theory implies that women are not responsible for their criminal actions because the undergo stressful situation during this period.

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The Sociological Theories of crime and deviance.

    Sociologists focus on social factors rather than on biological or psychological factors. They focus on a wide range of factors which they consider to be the causes of deviant or criminal behaviour. The factors which may contribute to crime and deviance are the socialization process, peer groups influences and sub-cultures, lack of opportunities, effects of the media and the nature of society we live in.

    ; The Socialization Process.