As humans, we are all inclined to judge certain events that happen in our society… especially CRIME! Although many of us believe that criminal behaviour is decided by the individual, some focus on other factors such as reasoning, weaknesses and mental illnesses. These are better known as biological factors, involving certain aspects found in a person’s brain functioning that can cause them to make certain decisions… decisions that could possibly be out of their control.
So, are we in control? Well, in order for us to be able to answer this question, we need to identify the reason behind crime.
Recently, a theorist discovered a link between brain deficits and antisocial behaviour which was later found to occur in childhood in which they found it difficult to abide by rules of society. Researchers then discovered the reasons behind these deficits wereassociated with certain events, such as trauma early on in a childs life, or even during foetal development.
Mental health is probably one of the more recognized issues in criminology with many illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia and personality disorders being connected to crime. Although these health issues are believed to be out of our control, statistics show those with mental health problems are twice as likely of committing crime.
Then we have bad behaviour, which later on progresses to aggression, also known as conduct disorder. Unsurprisingly, it is associated with crime with almost three quarters of children demonstrating this behaviour being convicted later on throughout adulthood. Reasons for convictions however, are found to be connected to evidence of associates such as abusive relationships and substance misuse.
Other suspected biological reasons connected to conduct disorder are impulsivity, defined as “the inability to control behaviour” (Farrington, 2007). Like conduct disorder, it has been argued that biology is not a single factor, instead, it is believed to involve outside factors such as the environment, which again, questions our title?
Question: What can we do to prevent crime from happening, and avoid further criminal behaviour? Answer: Prevention schemes and programmes!
Some of you might ask what a prevention scheme or program is… well, it’s a plan put in place by charities, the law and support workers etc to support individuals at risk of crime to prevent it from happening. The purposes of these programmes are to identify problems in individuals and those at risk to improve their situations and increase their skills which hopefully will then eventually stop crime!
Programmes assess each individual situation in order to concentrate on a certain prevention, using one of the following four different types of crime prevention:
Prevention schemes are not only available to the individual, but for those responsible for them as parents. Parenting programs and family nurses are available to pregnant women to identify certain risk factors e.g. smoking, which has been found to cause deficits which then later link to crime. Other risks are introduced to children whilst at school, some of which may not have been identified previously. Some children find their school days very difficult if support is not provided at home and as a result, turn to antisocial behaviour. Programs at school focus on the behaviour of the child and aim to increase their skills and development so that bad behaviour does not become a problem later on.
Other prevention programmes focus on the brain activity e.g. where mental health is concerned, schemes aim to improve brain development through the use of doings in order to avoid criminal behaviour from occurring. Prevention also focuses on the nutrition of an individual with cognitive deficits, as it has been associated with crime. Diet has a key affect on a person’s behaviour and as a result, prevention to poor nourishment such as the use of vitamins and other certain foods is most important.
So… could you answer the question “do you choose crime or does crime choose you?” Researchers are still trying to answer the same thing! By taking biological factors of crime into consideration, it has allowed appropriate crime prevention to be developed, however, theorists still argue to support several other factors and theories to why crime occurs and this will probably continue until we get our final answer!
This blog was written by first year Criminology student Jodie Rackley as part of the assessment for the module “ASC 111: The Criminological Imagination” last term and was based around the article:
Rocque, M., Welsh, C. B., Raine, A. (2012) ‘Biosocial Criminology and Modern Crime Prevention’, Journal of Criminal Justice, 40(4), pp. 306-312.
Andy Whiting March 9th, 2015
Posted In: Criminology Theory
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