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Biological Roots of Criminal Behavior - Essay Example

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Biological Roots of Criminal Behavior Biological explanations of criminal behavior are referred to as biocriminology. Biocriminology is a criminology theory that assumes that criminality is connected to some part of the human body (Walby & Carrier, 2010). Biocriminology seeks to identify individuals who are “genetically” vulnerable to criminal behavior (Rose, 2000, p…
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Download file to see previous pages Biological roots of criminal behavior lost much of its ground during the Second World War, largely discredited by Nazi Germany’s eugenics and the discriminatory treatment of ethnic groups and races that were determined to be predisposed to deviance and thus mercilessly removed from society (Rafter, 2009). However, during the latter part of the 20th century, biological explanations of criminal behavior have been making a comeback (Rafter, 2009). Biological explanations of criminal behavior have been largely influenced by investments in genetic studies are developing impressively and threatening to “break the monopoly” of sociological explanations (Rafter, 2010, p. 199). The emphasis on genetics was spurred by a determination to understand, predict and prevent “harms of all types” from “cancer to terrorism to criminality” (Rafter, 2009, p. 199). The renewed interest in biocriminology has resulted in a number of theoretical assumptions. For instance, Robinson et al (2008) identified the progress made in scientific understandings of the connection between genes, the human brain and corresponding social conduct. According to Robinson et al (2008), the link is explained by reference to “two key vectors of influence” (p. 896). ...
According to McInerney (1999) even if it were possible to explain social behavior by virtue of gene functioning and gene expression, environmental influences have a significant influence on factors that give way to criminal behavior. These factors are self-control, motives and any number of factors that function independent of an individual’s genetic make-up (McInerney, 1999). Human behavior is therefore a complex area of study and the factors contributing to criminal behavior are many. There is no single biological factor, nor is there a single environmental factor that causes criminal behavior. The most reasonable conclusion is that there are number of biological factors that interact with a number of environmental and social factors that lead to criminal behavior (Hamer, 2002). Hagan (2011) therefore suggested that biological theories of criminal behavior “will never replace social etiology” (p. 140). What we are left with is determining the “psychological, biological, and sociological factors” and how they “interact to produce crime and delinquency” (Hagan, 2011, p. 140). Mainstream criminologists are slow to embrace the concept of biological factors as appropriate explanations of criminal behavior. Perceptions among mainstream criminologists are that accepting biological explanations of criminal behavior is regressive. Biocriminology requires going back to antiquated ideals of the natural born criminal and accepting that criminal behavior is somehow sick rather than criminal. Thus one is expected to ignore the reality that crime is essentially a conflict between law and behavior and as such can be corrected by rehabilitation and/or punishment (Hagan, 2011). During the Victorian Era, scientific ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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