How Human Nature Relates to Crime
Crime is condemned everywhere in the world. While various attempts have been made to control crime, none of them has been successful. Since the nineteenth century, various studies have been done to explain the relationship between crime and human nature (Walsh 50). Several researchers with explanations on how humans relate to crime have put three broad standpoints forward. This paper provides valuable insights on how humans relate to crime. It looks at three approaches notably the psychological perspective, biological perspective as well as sociological theory.
In the psychological theory of criminality, an individual is the main element of analysis. This paradigm asserts that personality is the key factor that determines behavior among individuals. Therefore, crimes arise from abnormal mental processes within an individual (Walsh 56). A mental disease, emulation of unsuitable role model, inappropriate learning, and inner struggles adjustments, aggravates these mental problems. Psychological theory also assumes that there are many reasons why humans engage in criminal behavior and that crime would be controlled through targeting general principles at the individual. However, this theory assumes that there exists a sub-category of a psychological criminal type known as psychopath or sociopath. A Psychopath exhibits a disorder referred to as antisocial personality syndrome. A criminal in this category develops unusual behavior early in childhood. This behavior is associated with a shortage of empathy as well as self-centeredness.
According to the psychological theory, the frequency of causing a crime is controlled by how penalties are meted out. The aversive consequences of criminality most of the times do not matter at all. More often, than not the punishments are delayed whereas the rewards of crime are immediate thus the cycle seems attractive to an individual who can discount the future. Wilson and Herrnstein believe that many criminals lack an elementary sense of fairness, which lands them into breaking laws. The criminals regard themselves special and belittle their victims referring to them as the low-life.
The Biological theory of criminality maintains that criminal acts result from various imperfections in an individual’s biological makeup. Biological flaws are believed to be caused by heredity, neurotransmitter complications and the improper development of the brain. Biological theorists purport that psychosurgery has been applied in the past to curb criminal behavior in 1970’s (Anderson 77). Depression and schizophrenia are among the diseases handled in this manner.
It is also believed that some individuals with deviant behavior took it from their parents or relatives. Young people tend to inherit criminal behavior from mature members of the society and the problem is passed from one generation to another. This is the reason why some families are associated with a certain criminal behavior. For instance, alcoholism, drug addicts, theft as well as ruthlessness. To add to that gender seems to be associated with crime where men are believed to commit more crimes. Biological theories also assert that criminality decreases with age such that young people commit more crimes than older people do.
Biological theory purports that individuals with neurotransmitter problems as well as the improper development of the brain (Anderson 77) mainly commit sexual-related crimes. This contributes to increasing cases of sex offenders as well as drug addicts. The theory also suggests that brain simulation is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease while chemical castration is recommended for sex criminals.
The Sociological Approach
Sociological theorists have explained the relationship between human nature and crime. Some researchers believe that sociological and psychological ideologies are tangled. The sociological explanation of criminality attempts to find out the relationship between a criminal individual and the cultural values. It also tries to establish how the interaction of individuals could lead to criminal acts (Wilson et al.49) the theorists also assess the history of cultural structures of a certain society as well as the current changes that the society is experiencing.
Traditional sociological explanation asserts that crime was caused by lack of social norms and lack of social connection. This explanation was put forward by Emile Durkheim in 1897. Later sociologists purport that criminal acts result from failure to achieve personal aspirations or by learning deviant behaviors from peers. This explains why there is a correlation between unemployment and crime. Therefore, Lack of proper socialization among individuals and imbalanced opportunities among groups significantly contributes to criminality. Durkheim assumed that crime and human behavior are intertwined thus he advocated for a sustainable crime mitigation within reasonable boundaries.
The sociological theory argues that society builds crime. The theories also believe that there are behaviors purported to be criminal acts by the society yet those behaviors cause no danger to others (Wilson et al. 51). They are harmless behaviors criminalized without sufficient ground. Sociological theorists recommend for a decriminalization of victimless crimes or imposition of less strict punishments.
In conclusion, the relationship between human nature and crime has been associated with rational choice, genetics, social as well as psychological perspectives. It is clear that none of these explanations is independently satisfactorily. However, the theorists have clearly revealed that there exists an interdisciplinary relationship between human nature and crime.
Anderson, James F. Criminological Theories: Understanding Crime in America. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2015. Print
Walsh, Anthony. Criminological Theory: Assessing Philosophical Assumptions. Waltham, MA: Anderson publishing, an imprint of Elsevier, 2014.Print.
Wilson, James Q., and Richard J. Herrnstein. Crime and Human Nature. New York: Free Press, 1998.Print.