Basing Theories Of Crime On The Individual

8 August 2017

Features Of Offenders Is Like Blaming Sick People For Their Diseases Essay, Research Paper

Basing Theories Of Crime On The Individual Essay Example

Many theories have been developed which address the issue of whether people are born felons in footings of their physical, familial, or psychological profile, Or whether as sociologists would reason felons are made by the environment and fortunes which they encounter during their life.

There have been theories put frontward to propose that a individuals physical features can find how he/she behaves. The earliest theories were in the 18th century, Lavater survey on countenance this suggests that you can state individuals character by their facial features. Some of these happening still exist in modern twenty-four hours biass / old married womans tales i.e. he s got devious eyes. Or his eyes are excessively close together

Subsequently the survey of phrenology besides looked at the development of people s caputs. Gall, did an extended survey of the encephalon and how the encephalon worked. He developed the theory that the balls on the skull were where in some people certain countries of the encephalon were disproportional and this caused the balls. His survey identified 26 maps of the encephalon and those relevant to criminology were destructiveness, closeness, acquisitiveness and militance.

Lombroso an Italian physician, while analyzing the skull of a felon had the idea that the nature of criminology ballad in reversion ( an evolutionary atavist. )

He felt the physical features such as tremendous jaw, high zygomatic bones, and stick outing ears supported his theory as these features were found in felons, barbarians and apes. Lombroso subsequently developed this theory further and produced a list of physical features found in felons.

The list included physical characteristics such as ; dissymmetry of the face, abnormality in the eyes, ears. Nose, lips, dentitions or mentum, supernumary mammillas, fingers and toes, and inordinate arm length.

Lombroso so tested his theory on a figure of convicted felons and found that 21 % had one anomalousness and 43 % had five or more this he suggested showed that felons were born felons. He did other trial with soldiers and felons and once more the felons had more anomalousnesss.

Lombroso published his theories in his book The Criminal Man. He subsequently developed his theories further by including the insane felon, the epileptic felon and the occasional felon who could be influenced by environmental factors.

These early theories were non decently evaluated or objectively compared to wider groups in society but these theories formed the footing for future theories in criminology.

Others were critical of Lombroso and one of these was an English physician Charles Goring. He went on to make his ain research as a manner of disputing Lombroso s theories. Goring ain research found that felons were shorter and lighter than others were and he hence suggested they were of lower intelligence. There was unfavorable judgment of Goring work as in his avidity to confute Lombroso he may hold overlooked fact, which could hold proved Lombroso s theory.

Again this was a wider survey and looked at more factors but it failed to be nonsubjective as it set out to confute a theory instead than measure and look for alternate accounts.

Hooton so tested Goring s theory and researched a big figure of captives with a much smaller figure of non-criminals. He selected people for the research based on their physical features. He found that some characteristic were found more normally in felons than in others these were ; low brows, inclining shoulders, thin lips and tattoos.

He besides went on to propose that certain physical types committed different types of offenses. Those smaller in character he said would steal while those with stockier physique would perpetrate more violent offenses. Hooton besides believed that felons with unusual physical features were besides likely to be mentally inferior.

It would be of import to compare a wider non-offending group with similar features. By merely comparing one group or a limited assorted group you are more likely to corroborate your initial ideas. The impact of societies response to these physical differences would besides necessitate to be considered in footings of its impact on the felon.

In 1921 Kretschmer, a Psychiatrist looked a organic structure types and mental unwellness he identified three organic structure types and suggested that different types of condemnable behavior was associated with the organic structure shapes. Sheldon developed the theory of organic structure types and linked organic structure forms to personalities. These organic structure types are still used to depict organic structure forms and personalities today. These are:

1 ) Endomorph this describes people whose organic structures are soft unit of ammunition figures that are relaxed and extravert personalities.

2 ) Mesomorphs have more athletic physiques and are more aggressive in their personality.

3 ) Ectomorph are physically thin and frail and are more introspective in their personality.

Sheldon carried out research affecting two 100 delinquents and two 100 pupils who had no known record of delinquency. Through this work he found that there were more mesomorphs in the delinquent group than in the pupil group.

The Gluecks did a further survey taking into history more factors including societal factors and the kid rise uping techniques and the type of subject, which the groups received as kids. From this survey the Gluecks they discovered that 60 % of the delinquents were mesomorph types where merely 31 % of the non-delinquent group were mesomorphs.

However the Gluecks took their sample of delinquents from establishments and there is no history taken of institutionalisation on piquing behavior. Or how body types can impact parent s reactions/ adhering to their kids.

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Cortezs and Gatti besides conducted research into organic structure types but they used a broad choice of delinquent and non-delinquents and they besides found a higher figure of mesomorphs in the delinquent groups.

Physical type theory may be accurate in placing groups of organic structure forms and the links with types of personalities but this can non account for condemnable activity entirely or all people with this organic structure type would act in the same manner so at that place must other things which affect the felons behaviour.

Environmental factors can besides impact organic structure types people who are hapless may non be able to afford a balanced diet and this can impact growing. Lack of fondness can besides do kids to be little. Small kids may besides be the mark of strong-arming which can subsequently impact their assurance or do them to contend back.

Taking organic structure types entirely is non an nonsubjective manner of measuring condemnable behavior but combined with other theories it may give a greater cognition about wrongdoers.

Developments in recognizing chromosome abnormalcies have besides allowed other theories to develop. Persons sex is decide by whether they have X-chromosomes or Y-chromosomes Females have xx chromosomes and males have xy chromosomes. If the cell divide abnormally a individual may hold three chromosomes. Some people with xxy chromosomes were found to be intellectually subnormal. Work force with excess Y-chromosomes were besides found to be over represented in the prison population and they were thought to be more aggressive.

Again this theory is limited to analyzing a group of males already in establishments and non compared to people in the community with similar chromosome abnormalcy. If an excess Y chromosome leads to more aggressive behavior does it besides affect work forces in other ways physical expressions and could people be reacting to this. Could this group of work forces be being penalised more often by the tribunals that other groups.

Whether felons are born or made continues to be discussed and research into genetic sciences has helped this treatment. A survey by Lange looked art 30 work forces, 13 were indistinguishable twins and 17 were fraternal twins. All 30 work forces had been in prison when Lange looked at the work forces brothers he found 77 % of the indistinguishable brother had besides been in prison but merely 12 % of the fraternal brother had been in prison. He besides looked at a group of 200 braces of brothers ( non twins ) and found that 8 % of work forces whose brothers had been in prison another brother had besides been in prison. Lange felt this proved that piquing behavior was familial. Newman did a similar survey and found a higher per centum of similar condemnable offending in indistinguishable and fraternal twins.

It is hard to turn out familial factors as twins will see the same environment during their up delivery. Even more so that other brothers where fortunes within the place could hold changed between one kid being born and the following. Society besides treats twins otherwise and expects them to be the same and have the same likes and disfavors this could besides impact how they see other people.

Other surveies have looked a condemnable behavior in people who were adopted Crowe studied 52 people who had been adopted where it was known that the natural female parent had strong beliefs. He besides studied 52 other people who where the same sex, race and age at the clip of acceptance. Eight of the 52 from condemnable female parents had been arrested compared to merely two in the other group.

Surveies of adoptees in other states have produced similar findings and the piquing rate is even higher if the natural parent have condemnable records and the adoptive male parent has a condemnable record.

This could demo that criminalism is familial but other factors would hold to be considered. At what age was the kid adopted? What had the kid s environment and attention been like prior to the acceptance. Had they had contact with their natural parents or were they placed for acceptance at birth? Where they adopted by relations or people with no contact with their natural parents?

All of these things can impact the findings. If the kid had lived with the natural parents they may hold witnessed piquing behavior. The kid may hold been placed for acceptance because the kid could hold been neglected or received hapless attention and non loved. This could so impact the kid in ulterior life. If the kid is adopted by a comparative that relation could besides be piquing or state the kid could happen out about hoe the household experience about his natural parents.

Adopted kids can experience a sense of separation from their natural parent and this can impact their behavior. Adoptive parents may fear the kid will hold its parent s condemnable inclinations and someway convey this to the kid.

Other influences on condemnable theory have been they development of psychotherapeutics from Freud to clinical psychologists in the 1960 s who placed a batch of importance on the affects of a kid injury and how this affected them when they were grownups. Social work and work with people who are mentally sick have besides provided other theories, which have influenced developments in criminology.


The argument about whether felons are born or made will go on. The history of criminology will assist to supply the footing for farther research. Future developments in genetic sciences will give farther findings to enable this work to go on. But people are affected by the universe around them and their experience impact how they respond to other people. Although people have physical, familial or psychological features non all go on to perpetrate offenses. We still need to see what are the factors, which make some people respond otherwise. We know that poorness, rearing manner and community influences can all impact individuals behaviour, so it would be hard to impute any one theory as a cause for condemnable behavior.

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