Theories of Criminal Justice
Instructions: Provide an overview of the biological, biosocial and psychological causes of crime. How do they differ in explaining the incidence of crime in different societies and/or in different time periods as well as why particular individuals engage in criminal behavior?
Theories of Criminal Justice
With the nature and dynamics of crime and criminal behaviors, many theories have come forward to explain the various causes of crime. Many scholars have come up with theories and approaches as they try to understand crime and reasons behind criminal behaviors. While critics have disputed some of these theories, others have explored various factors relating to crime (McGee, 2016). The criminal justice systems rely on some of these approaches to decipher some of the world’s most complicated crimes. Criminologists consider the biological aspects, sociology, psychology, among other aspects, in the development of crime-related theories. These theories seek to expound on the biological, biosocial and psychological causes of crime while highlighting an individual’s criminal behavior.
Biological theories ascertain the relationship between some biological conditions to the increased tendency of involvement in criminal behavior. It dates back to decades ago when the criminologist Cesare Lombroso. Through his theories associated, the facial features and skulls of a criminal were related to atavism. Most biological approaches believe that people born criminals are hard to deter one from engaging in criminal activities; for essence, those with physical or mental disabilities have no control over their actions (Thornberry, 2018). Furthermore, the basics determinant of behaviors is considered at a certain degree to the determined by the genetic compositions, whereby certain behavioral traits may be passed from one generation to the next.
Biosocial is an interdisciplinary field in criminology that seeks to explain the relationship between criminal behaviors, antisocial behaviors concerning biocultural factors. It acknowledges the potential contribution to neuropsychology and genetics in determining the criminal behaviors of an individual. It studies the relationship between social and biological factors in influencing a person to develop criminal behaviors. For essences, if, for instance, a person is born and bred in a disruptive environment, he or she is likely to develop criminal tendencies. moreover, genetic predisposition, health risks such as birth complications may play a role in an individual’s criminal behaviors. (Wells, 2019) In this case, Gene X expression is highly influenced by the environment whereby the prosocial gene can be suppressed or enhanced depending on the environmental exposure; thus, the environment plays a significant role in gene expression. Tentatively, the proportion of the variance in genetic effects to posit certain traits is influence by the environment at the given time, not forgetting the heritability coefficient of that trait, in this case, the antisocial behavior.
The phycological approach is another imperative aspect in explaining the cause of crime. In essence, it seeks to explain delinquency and criminal behaviors about an individual’s personality. This approach seeks to explain that behavior and restraints are acquired over time. Phonologist view human behavior and antisocial behavior to be learned through manipulation resulting from punishments or behaviorism. Psychological theories explain a person’s inadequate socializing or exposure to negative experiences in childhood may actively influence criminal thinking patterns. Psychodynamic theories believed the external forces shaped the person’s personality. Sigmund Freud, a renowned psychologist, tried to explain delinquency’s relationship to the three aspects of id, ego and superego, whereby one develops a defense mechanism to respond to unfavorable external conditions (Miller, 2017). People with inherent personality traits are likely to be involved in criminal behaviors compared to other open-minded individuals. This approach tries to explain why individuals choose to commit crimes despite understanding the expected reward versus the cost.
The criminal justice system department strongly believes the classical criminology theories whereby they adopt the assumption that one commits a crime resulting from a logical judgment while understanding the cost. Moreover, other factors, such as poor parental supervisory, contribute to the possible cause of crimes. Some behaviors of criminals result from learned behaviors; others are from inherent personality traits predisposing some to certain criminal behavior while others are through phycological disorders.
McGee, T. R., & Farrington, D. P. (2016). Developmental and life-course theories of crime. The handbook of criminological theory, 336-354.
Miller, L. (2017). Psychological Theories of Criminal Behavior. In Handbook of Behavioral Criminology (pp. 43-62). Springer, Cham.
Wells, J., & Walsh, A. (2019). Biosocial theories in criminology. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Thornberry, T. (Ed.). (, 2018). Developmental theories of crime and delinquency. Routledge.