Are Criminals Born, or made? Sample Essay

The statement ‘Are felons born. or made? ’ is broad stretch and still the topic of many arguments. Get downing over a hundred old ages ago in the late eighteenth century societal and condemnable anthropologists began to inquire at the causes of criminalism and delinquency and put about to look into. Most theoreticians at the clip believed that it had to be a deep-seated trait. an unconditioned inclination. Over the old ages that followed. many other sociologists and psychologists have tried to decode this complicated inquiry. some remaining on the side of biological causes. and some looking further into environmental causes. There are many factors environing the statements for both sides. a few of which will be addressed in this essay. This essay will try to reason which of these theories holds the most weight. and why.

Called ‘The male parent of Modern Criminology’ . Cesare Lombroso believed that peculiar physical features or properties could foretell criminalism. making a ‘born’ felon. This was. he theorised. a consequence of certain reversions whereby the felon would be both mentally and physically inferior to ‘normal’ human existences. and that they would resemble our predecessor. the ape. He used certain physical features as indexs of criminalism. and measured them. These included: Size or form of the caput ; Enlarged zygomatic bones and jaw ; Fleshy stick outing lips ; Abnormal dentitions and dark tegument to call but a few.

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His first construct of the felon. which was greatly modified subsequently. was that the felon is an throwback phenomenon reproducing a type of the yesteryear. This of class was the theory or Charles Darwin in his book “The Descent of Man” . written in 1871. Lombrosso found that when a condemnable shows a inclination towards offense. which consequences from pathological. physiological. and psychological features it is necessary to seek in the lower species for the features that correspond to those of the felon.

If a individual were to portray five or more of these reversions. so they were seen to be a born felon. He besides added other factors to this theory. including that of an inordinate usage of tattooing. inordinate idling and a inclination to show thoughts pictorially! Sheldon had similar thoughts. but these were chiefly based around organic structure types. He described three basic organic structure types and different dispositions that corresponded with them. These were: Endomorphs. who would be soft and unit of ammunition with relaxed extravert personalities ; Mesomorphs. who were athletic and tended to be aggressive ; and eventually. Ectomorphs. who were thin frail and introverted.

The survey of anatomical features of the condemnable enabled him to divide the born felon from the felon of wont. passion or of juncture who is born with really few or no unnatural features. He found that one of the features ( as mentioned above ) . of the born felon was tattooing ;

” One of the most characteristic traits of crude adult male or of the barbarian is the installation with which he submits himself to this operation. surgical instead than aesthetic. and of which the name even has been furnished to us by an Oceanic parlance. “

In the first volume Lombroso mentions the physical properties of the born felon. but in the 2nd volume he wrote of certain analogies. which he believed existed between born felons and other unnatural types of homo:

” The features of the born felon that we have studied in the first volume are the same as those of the moral idiot. “

Under the term moral idiot head-shrinkers classified these as the insane with about or complete absence of moral feeling or ideals. Henry Maudsley went on to depict this moral idiot:

” A individual who has no moral sense is of course good fitted to go a condemnable. and if his mind is non strong plenty to convert him that offense will non in the terminal win. and that it is. hence. on the lowest grounds a folly. he is really likely to go one. ”

Lombroso contends hence that this is some sort of individuality between the moral idiot and the born felon. but he does non propose that every moral idiot is a born felon. He states that external factors influence the development of the felon. He so goes on to propose that the analogy between the moral idiot and the born condemnable demonstrates many similitudes to the epileptic in tallness. weight and countenance. However whilst all born felons are epileptics harmonizing to Lombroso. non all epileptics are born felons.

William H. Sheldon rated these physical properties in any given person. and gave evaluations of 1 – 7 to bespeak the extent of each organic structure type they possessed so the individual would be given a three-figure evaluation demoing his/her ownership of features. Sheldon compared these evaluations on a group of 200 male delinquents. against 200 non-delinquent pupils. He found that the delinquents were significantly higher in athletic type and lower in asthenic type ( 1949 ) . He concluded that a Mesomorph was the most likely to be a condemnable. Other surveies. based around heredity. by Francis Galton and his pupils. were set up to mensurate grades of resemblance or correlativity.

Charles Goring used these new statistical techniques in the analysis of criminalism. He concluded that offense was inherited much in the same manner as ordinary physical traits and characteristics. He besides found that those with frequent and drawn-out footings of imprisonment were physically smaller and less intelligent than other people and although there could be a distinguishable environmental account for this. Goring believed that these were chiefly inherited features.

However. there are many unfavorable judgments of these theories. chiefly that a bulk of Lombrosso’s reversions could depict about any cultural minority. and any tantrum or clean individual in Sheldon’s books. would be delinquent. Lombrosso’s theory nevertheless. was really popular at the bend of the century and dispelled any theories that a individual became condemnable. merely because they fell victim to unfortunate societal fortunes. However. the ‘International Congress of Criminal Anthropology’ was critical. They believed that the beginnings of offense ballad in societal conditions instead than with unconditioned inclinations. This nevertheless was ab initio a unsafe tact as it bred a belief that the bar of offense required the development of eugenics. whereby province bureaus could implement plans of societal and moral betterment through genteelness.

This sort of familial technology was dependent on chromosomal surveies. Patricia Jacobs et al held one of the first surveies of this sort in a maximum-security prison in Scotland. They found that a statistically important per centum of work forces had an excess Y chromosome. Normal forms are XX for females and XY for males yet this survey found that the subnormal wing of the infirmary had patients with XYY forms. Patricia Jacobs described these work forces as holding ‘dangerous. violent or condemnable predisposition’s’ . This was seen as a discovery but since so the excess Y chromosome has been found in the general population besides. in non-criminal members of society.

However these three theories do non explicate the grounds why poorer countries of society have more felons. or the theories that chemical instabilities are to fault. This leads us to environmental theories of criminalism. or that felons are made. There have besides been many surveies into the effects of certain vitamins and minerals and their toxic effects in relation to criminalism. For case the toxic effects of lead and its inauspicious effects on larning are widely accepted. yet Bradley has merely late suggested the nexus between lead degrees and criminalism in 1988. Bryce-Smith ( 1983 ) besides found that high degrees of lead could be linked to impulsiveness. woolgathering and defeat.

Other minerals have besides been linked with negative behavior forms. viz. Cobalt ( vitamin B12 ) and Vitamin B. Two recent surveies on Cobalt found that there was a definite nexus between Cobalt and violent behavior. the lower the mineral degree. the more violent the behavior form. With Vitamin B. it has been found that a lack is common amongst both felons and overactive kids. A deficit of B1 gives rise to aggression. ill will and irrational behavior and B3. it is claimed by Lesser ( 1980 ) . may do people to go fearful and act amorally as they are unable to spot right from incorrect. A mixture of any of these lacks could bring forth a violent. condemnable personality.

Interactionism plays a important portion in make up one’s minding whether a felon is born or made. Interactionism starts from a basically different construct of the societal universe than that of which we have seen in certain strands of positivism. i. e. a societal universe held together with common values and specialised divisions. Interactionist theory was a important model for a pluralist construct of offense and aberrance. Positivism constructed offense as a pathological act that violated controlled norms. However. Interactionism provided authors with a model in which they argued that offense and aberrance was something created in the procedure of societal interaction in which some people who commit aberrant acts some to be known as perverts where as others do non. Tannebaum in 1938 wrote:

The procedure of doing the felon is a procedure of labeling. specifying. placing. Segregating. depicting. underscoring. doing witting and self-aware ; it Becomes a manner of exciting. proposing. and arousing. the really traits that are Complained of. The individual becomes the thing he is described as being.

Poverty. unemployment and category are besides societal issues connected closely with offense and delinquent behavior. Sainsbury ( 1955 ) found that offense was closely linked to poorness. but criticisms show many folks. and peoples who are materially hapless but have no offense. hence poverty itself does non do offense but is merely a factor. Evidence now suggests that criminalism is linked to economic and income inequalities.

Glaser & A ; Rice found unemployment to be a important factor when it came to belongings offense for illustration. They besides found that delinquency is reciprocally related to unemployment ; that is. delinquency is high when unemployment is low. and frailty versa. They suggested that this might be due to the fact that in times of unemployment. parents are more available to their kids. However. Block found in 1979 that it is immature grownups who are most likely to hold condemnable inclinations if they are besides unemployed.

However Howard Nagel found a strong relation between offense rates and unemployment rates in his survey of the 50 provinces of America. Brenner in 1973 found that from 1940 to 1973 where there was a sustained growing in unemployment of 1 % . there was a sustained growing in slaying of 5. 7 % . It seems from research. that the correlativity between unemployment and offense depends on the type of offense committed and hence researched. Theodore Chiricos concluded that the relationship between belongings offense such as burglary and auto larceny is positive and often important. In his essay. Saleem Shah backs up the point of the environment act uponing the head of a felon. He states:

” It is of import to underscore that what is inherited is non a peculiar trait or characteristic. but the manner in which the development of the being responds to its environment. ”

It is hence a really complex and on-going statement about whether felons are born. or made. Goring continued his surveies into criminalism and finally postulated that it was caused neither by environment nor heredity. but as the consequence of an interaction between the two. A position held by many criminologists today. He did nevertheless still favour heredity.

Despite this. it can surely be shown that modern surveies and theories are much more in favor of environmental causes of criminalism. causes that can be controlled and repressed. In add-on to the theories we have discussed. there are many others on the side of environmental factors. such as labelling. and larning theories tested by psychologists like Bandura and Skinner demoing how criminalism can be conditioned. It is hence much more likely. taking into history the grounds we have seen on behalf of both biological and environmental factors ; that with today’s mass array of chemical substances. foils. and wont forming avocations ; conjoined with hapless life conditions. conditioned ethical motives and life styles ; and deficiency of wealth and instruction. that criminalism is surely non an innate inclination. but a life style imposed upon certain persons by their environment. It could be an instability in their familial makeups caused by a deficiency of vitamins or exposure to certain minerals. In retrospect. it is a definite fact shown through the grounds in this essay. that felons are made and non born.

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