inclination of crime rather than the cause of crime (Raine, 1993).Hence a criminal can be born but shaped and influenced by the society to cultivate the criminal trait in them.
Social scientists have argued the nature –nurture debate for many years,both in the popular press and professional literature.Nature proponents argue that biological factors and genetic composition explain much of human behaviour.Nurture proponents contend that environmental factors ,such as family,school,church and community, are paramount in the development of behavior patterns.Besides,some traits, such as human intelligence, depend upon a complex combination of both hereditary and environmental influences.According to Pollack,that there is a new way of looking at these different experiences that turn different genes on or off (Pollock, 2002).New research reveals that life experiences can alter the biochemistry of many genes – our moral development later in life changes our genes and this could be hereditary.
Cesare Lombroso,a 19th century Italian physician , reminded students that nurture, not nature , is responsible for criminal behavior.In contrast ,Freudian psychoanalysis and the depth psychologies of Alfred Aldler,Erik Erikson,Erich Fromm etc focused on the dynamic unconscious (the natural instinct of a human), theorizing that the depth of human psyche integrates with the conscious mind to produce a healthy human personality.
Nevertheless,many researchers show that criminal behaviours can be hereditary.Human genes carry many personality traits inherited from their ancestors and even from their parents.Lombroso ,regarded by many as the father of criminology ,is convinced that people are born criminals as it is an individual’s nature to commit crime.Criminals have been found to carry a few certain features and personality traits.According to Darwin and him,we evolved from animals.In this theory ,genes mutate and get passed on to each descendant, concluding that some people are predisposed to criminality and they are not the same species as humans (all about science, 2007)
According to Sidmund Freud , all humans have criminal tendencies .However ,the process of socialization curbs these tendencies by the developing of inner controls that are learned through childhood experience ,Freud hypothesized that most common element that contributed to criminal behavior was faculty identification by children with their parents.Improperly socialized children may develop personality disturbances that causes them to direct antisocial impulses inward or outward. The child who directs them outward becomes a criminal, and the child who directs them inward becomes a neurotic.
In Freud theory of Defense mechanism,he finds the cause of individual behavior in the conscious mind (Freud, 1930).Sociobiology attributes “genetics as the only factor of behavior”.The mankind uses each one of them in everyday life.One clear example of man being biological is that sometimes man can have animals drives and desires.The drive driven by the idea and of free will that is taken for granted.
Another theory Freud developed included the Id, Ego and Superego (Freud, the ego and the id, 1923).Here ,personality has a definable strucrure with these basic components .The most primitive part of the personality ,present in the infact is the Id ,meaning “it” in Latin.The Id is an unconscious,irrational and immoral part of the personality that exists at birth(by nature),containing all the basic biological drives:hunger,thirst,self-protection,and sex.A component of personality ,the id seeks immediate satisfaction of natural urges through primary process,without concern for the morals and norms of society .Ego and superego deals with how the mind works conscientiously and unconsciously.It describes the behavior of the human body and motives of our actions.Freud was a pessimist when it came to human nature .He identified man’s weaknesses in sayng that man is a biological creature with biological drives.He refletected these ideas from Darwin’s original ideas.
In Freud’s views,the three parts of the psychic structure-id,ego,and superego are always in dynamic conflict.We are always unaware of the conflicts between the id, ego,and superego.According to psychodynamic theory,when a threat becomes especially serious ,it may lead to intense inhibitions and defenses.These may be expressed as violence and aggression –inhibiting reaction.According to Freud ,humans are defensive .This defensive mechanism is part of everyday speech and action.The lack of basic need stimiulates the unconscious id and impels a person toward aggression which may later expresses itself in a tendency towards criminal behavior.
If moral and social values are instilled from day to day ,an individual is given “will power” as a tool for survival as well as the ability to practice self –control.For example ,Socrates,a Greek philosopher was analyzed as brutal,sensuous and inclined to being a drunkard by a physiognomist.By admitting that the examination revealed his inner self, and learning to control it,he managed to overcome the negative side (Vold, Bernard, & snipes, 2002).The ability to control negative desires desires is a natural thing.
If we said that criminals are made by their sorroundings and their social factors,we could safely say that criminals are shaped by bad influences or social status.According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ,when the basic need for an individual is not met or self –esteem is threatened ,the individual will turn on his or her defensive mechanism as reaction to this perceived threat (Maslow, 1943).Some resort to robbing and stealing food and necessities as a way of survival.Another basic need of humankind is the need for belonging and acceptance by others .Some might feel forced into criminal activities to enable them to live certain lifestyles that will achieve this aim.
Because defensive mechanisms are unconscious ,they are difficult to control.However,the psychologists of the 1950s and 1960s rejected this theory.Nevertheless,in recent years ,the cognitive revolution and again made defensive mechanisms the subject of scientific investigation,and cognitive ,developmentmental and personality psychologists have found some evidence for their existence (Crammer, 2000)
Carl Jung and Freud shared the same ideas and even theoretical concepts ,including psyche,ego ,consciousness and unconsciousness (Sommerfield, 2000).But Jung greately expanded the concept of the uncounscious.Jung argued that the mind of the newborn infant is not blank slate,butis imprinted with forms from the past gexperiences that are common to all humans in the universe.
One major challenge in our time is to discover the underlying causes of crime and to develop new techniques for preventing it.Although we should not ignore poverty, racism,joblessness, and other environmental factors which do influence criminals,biological and genetic factors may prove to be powerfull predictors of criminal behavior.It is hoped that genetic tendencies towards crime,if they do not prove to exist ,can be modified by early intervention with such methods as psychotherapy ,classes in effective parenting and improved preschool education.Additional research on both genetic environmental factors is necessary if we are to prevent the emergence of criminals like the serial killer Ivan Milat-“the backpacker murderer” in future generations.
The four main types of criminals
According to Lombroso and Ferri ,there are four basic types of criminals.They include;
1. Those who are born criminals
According to Ferri,this group constitute a third of all criminals.They are morally underdeveloped and epileptic,
2. Insane criminals
This is the second type.This insanity is caused by a defect in their brains which causes the to be incapable of differentiating right and wrong.Intoxicated people are also also included in this group,since over consumption of alcohol has a similar effect on the brain.
3. Criminals by passion
This type of criminals is likely to be females than male.They are usually urged by their emotions or the need for revenge because of something or someone.For example,a mother who murders her husband whonwas found out to be the serial rapist oh daughter The strong emotions of betrayal and revenge for the overwhelming hurt done to her daughter would have driven to the murder of her spouse.
4. Occasional criminal
They comprise of a few categories:Firstly is the pseudo criminal who kills in self defence.Secondly, the criminality who are influenced by situations and circumstances to commit crime.Thirdly,the habitualcriminals who are normally offenders of the petty crimes such as white collar criminals and last but not the least harmless,the epileptic criminal who suffer from epilepsy.
How children are brought up within then family maters a lot in their character especially in commiting crimes.Also the size of the family is important; large families mean less attention for some family members and therefore produce negative behaviour. Also the ‘contagion effect’ can occur. There is also correlation between crime and poor interaction within the family, So children need to be punished when they do wrong and be guided on what is right so as to curb them from being criminals in the future.
The biological theories of crime which tend to prove that criminals are born hence not made support the through the biologiacak or genetic defects.The following is a brief explanation on the genetic theory to support that criminals are born not made.This involed freaternal twins and the identical