Causes Criminal Behavior? Essay

Pages: 3 (934 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

¶ … Causes Criminal Behavior?

There is a tremendous amount of debate over what causes criminal behavior. Some suggest that environmental factors cause criminal behavior, while other suggest that there are genetic factors that impact criminal propensity, and others even go so far as to argue that most criminality is a social construct used to control disadvantaged groups. Regardless of the individual perspective, few theorists suggest that a single factor is responsible for criminality, but urge people to consider a combination of factors when investigating criminal behavior. "Similar environments, for example, do not produce similar individuals; they create and highlight unique individual differences. Take, for example, two children living with abusive parents. Two issues that have been considered very important to modern researchers are the stability of criminal behavior and whether there is a genetic predisposition to criminality" (Wright et al., 2008). Understanding these two issues should help social scientists understand what changes need to be made to the criminal justice system and underlying social support systems to reduce criminal behavior, and, if that is not possible, to reduce the impact of criminal behavior on the non-criminal population.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Causes Criminal Behavior? There Is a Tremendous Assignment

Before looking at what makes people act like criminals, it is important to acknowledge that most people are potential situational criminals. People who would never consider stealing in a normal scenario might find themselves acting as thieves in order to feed a starving child. Likewise, people who consider themselves non-violent may find themselves engaging in assaults with exceptional provocation. These behaviors would still violate the societal norms that define criminal behavior, but they might be considered acceptable deviations from those norms. For example, though there are severe societal taboos against homicide, the use of deadly force in self-defense is such a well- accepted standard that it is part of the criminal law. However, these exceptional behaviors would be expected to be isolated incidents and to only occur in the face of extreme circumstances. Looking at criminality, one must look at those people who repeatedly engage in criminal behavior or engage in criminal behavior without any exceptional motivators.

Stability of Criminal Behavior over Time

Life course criminology studies have repeatedly verified the idea that a very limited percentage of a society's population is responsible for a great percentage of the crimes committed in that society. This suggests a high level of recidivism among those who commit crimes, which, in turn, suggests that criminal behavior will be somewhat stable over a person's lifetime. The criminal career approach envisions criminal behavior as an arc, with crimes increasing in severity and/or frequency and then tapering to a conclusion. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that juvenile delinquency does not generally result in adult criminal behavior. Therefore, it would be irresponsible to suggest that there is always stability of criminal behavior over time. However, criminal… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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