Are Criminals Born or Made? Essay

Are Criminals Born or Made? Essay

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As the act of criminality is a global phenomenon, there must therefore be some explanation as to why this is; some schools of thought strive to explicate this by means of genetics, whilst others take a more socially influenced approach. Although at the time, the micro-criminological theories of Lombroso and Sheldon may have appeared credible, modern research has attempted to refute such notions. In an epidemiological context, the act of crime is seen by some as a positive contribution to society, as noted by Durkheim (Kirby et al, 2000), although too much will lead to social instability, or anomie. In contrariety to Durkheim's beliefs, a Marxist perspective would consider the mere notion of capitalism as criminal; thus deeming the vast majority of global society to be in a constant state of anomie. However, there is still much dispute as to whether people are born, or made into criminals. This essay will discuss the arguments within this debate. To be ‘born’ criminal indicates a genetic heredity whereas if one is ‘made’; the environmental influences are the significant factor in creation of criminal behaviour.

Despite much controversy surrounding the notion of inherited criminal tendencies, there is much evidence to support such theories. Although Lombroso may have employed his theoretic atavisms in an attempt to provide a biologically deterministic method of reducing or preventing crime, they have ultimately lead to an abandonment of gravitas concerning such a notion. However, as myopic as Lombroso's theories of criminality being a hereditary trait appears (Mannheim, 1965) research has shown shared physical characteristics to be commonplace in explicating the argument of genetic criminal behaviour. Although Lombroso presented...


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...e fact it does not claim people will be born destined to commit criminal offences, but rather suggests an inherent predisposition towards such behaviours, which can be influenced by societal factors.
In furthering a genetically predisposed and socially-influenced explanation, there is an abundance of considerations when explicating criminal behaviour; for example, a non aggressive, psychologically sound individual may be influenced by peer pressure into recreational drug usage, as “Psychoactive drug abuse commonly results from a combination of low self-esteem, peer pressure, inadequate coping skills, and curiosity.” (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005) therefore suggesting that light recreational drug abuse can accrue to a dependence due to a multitude of social influences, which invariably leads to further crime in order to financially support an addiction.


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Are Criminals Born or Made? Essay

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