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Role of Biology in Contemporary Criminological Thinking - Essay Example

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Considering the biological factor in any crime is ever becoming more relevant in today's study of crime. As more and more studies have concluded that a person's biochemistry would eventually affect how he might behave. Recent explosive development in the field genetic engineering further shed light on role of genes and heredity in determining one's probability to commit crimes…
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Role of Biology in Contemporary Criminological Thinking
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"Role of Biology in Contemporary Criminological Thinking"

Download file to see previous pages Cesare Lombroso was an Italian prison doctor during the 19th century who later to be known as the 'father of criminology'. Cesare Lombroso suggested that physiological features such as cheek bones, hairline, or cleft palate are indication of one's inclination to criminal acts. Lombroso's approach was greatly influenced by the theory of phrenology and by the theory of evolution of Charles Darwin. However, such theories were later taken over by the modern day theory on genetics and chemistry as influencing factors in one's inclination to behavioural crime ("Criminology", 2006).
Lombroso furthered his studies with statistical analysis wherein he identified more 'Watavistic stigmata', as well as the immorality of efficiency in the approach of born criminals. Lombroso proposed the fair treatment of offenders by suggesting rehabilitation instead of harsh punishment. Despite Lombroso being the forerunner of criminology, his studies became the foundation of movements such as the eugenics during the 20th century. Today, Lombroso's research is no more the basis of modern criminology; however, psychology as well as psychiatry has used his theory in identifying crime potential of an individual independent of his surrounding environment ("Casare Lombroso", 2006).
Ever since, medicine has been involve in the study of crime and its related problems. Medical studies such as physiognomy and phrenology which found the interconnection of the shape of the skull to the way mind think and behave. These theories were popular because they relieve the blame of the cause of crime from the hands of the government and the society as a whole, rather the blame is placed on the offender themselves who were biologically predispose to commit a crime which have distinct features from peaceful citizens. Modern studies only relate the body structure to crime due to the fact that people with stronger features can do more harm physically, however, with regards to studies such as by Lombroso is no longer being adopted. The new studies on genetics further showed evidence in the genetic cause of crime as chromosome and some genes that predispose one to commit crime were identified. However, further studies on twin, family, and adoption proved no direct link of genetic factor to crimes being committed ("Positivist school", 2006). Thereby propelled the nature vs. nurture debate further.
Genetic factors
More and more studies have shown that genes play a big role in aggressive behaviour of individual. One such study was conducted by Philip Vernon and colleagues wherein they have studied 247 adult twin pairs. 183 were identical twins and 64 others are fraternal twins. The subjects were examined with the use of 18 aggression measurements. Their analyses, they say, 'revealed that multiple measures of different dimensions of aggressive behaviour have moderate to quite large heritabilities'. Moreover, they say, 'there appears to be substantial overlap between genes associated with different types of aggression' ("Strong genetic influence on aggression seen", 2000; Vernon et al, 1999, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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