Biology In Crime Essay, Research Paper
Of all the factors that can influence criminal behavior, biological influences can definitely play one of the more important roles. Several areas of research support ideas of a genetic influence as well as neurological defects and chemical imbalances that play into motivations of criminal activity. More recent than in the past, biological studies have been carried out, and they have been finding that biology can often be a significant effect on crime. In 1997, Anne Moir and David Jessel printed a book called A Mind to Crime, which looked at various biological tested effects on crime.
In the book A Mind to Crime, one of the primary ideas discussed is the genetic theory on crime. Mainly, a description is given how environmental factors interact with genes, which can cause one to be more active in crime; therefore, one gene does not cause crime, but if certain genes interact with environmental factors, then crime is more likely. An example of this possibility is the presence of a gene that can make one more aggressive. This aggressive gene may interact with outside influences where the criminal may be placed in violent or unpleasant situations, which will cause him to act in a criminal manner. Moir and Jessel say, Genetic theory has advanced in sophistication, and we know that environment factors can interact with the genes, as it were switching messages on or off. They also continue to describe that without this genetic predisposition, one is less likely to partake in criminal activities. This genetic theory also discusses that there are certain genes that predispose some towards non-violent property crime, and genes that predispose others to violent behaviors. This provides further evidence that not only can a biological factor influence crime in general, but all types of crime in that it shows how biology effects genetics which in turn can cause a criminal predisposition, not only in general crime but in certain types of crime.
There are many positive aspects why research should be conducted on biological influences to explain criminal behavior. One pro is that biology has become a significantly advanced field and research involving it is likely to be more exact and valid then what it used to be. In the past, biology was not as advanced, which caused most criminologists to shy away from it, but now it is more popular so genetics, biochemistry and neuropsychological problems can be examined much better. Another pro is that biological approaches as to why crime may occur may also lead to how to decrease the brain s tendency towards it. If a criminologist or biologist finds a chemical imbalance in the brain that can cause crime, then it is likely that they will be able to fix. For example, if a scientist finds a lack of a certain chemical lacking in all of the brain s of those who commit robbery, then this chemical can be balanced, which will rid the criminal of the desire to rob.
While there can be positive aspects to support conducting research in biology, there are also negatives. One negative aspect in biological research is that if it proves to be effective then criminals can blame their criminal actions on their anatomical make-up. For example, if a criminal is on trial for robbing a liquor store, in his defense he can say that it was not his fault but it was a chemical imbalance in the brain. Criminals should not be able to blame biological factors on their actions, instead they need to take responsibility and be punished for their actions. Another negative aspect is that if one s parents were involved in criminal activity and biological studies have proven that genetics played a significant role in crime, then this person may feel that they are entitled to act in a criminal way. This way of thinking could cause a number of children of criminals to believe that they were born to be criminals so they would act in a criminal manner.
If a biological link to crime were proven, the change we handled criminals in the criminal justice could change significantly. One way it would change is that there would be new drug therapies to correct the problem in the brain, which would be a positive change because the treatment could be quick and the criminal could rid himself of the imbalance that motivates him to cause crime. Another change is that there would be new equipment in the criminal justice system. For example, lethal injections or the electric chair may not be necessary to punish criminals instead we could correct the problem by simple gene therapy. Criminals would also not be as consistent in multiple-offenses in that after a crime is committed, the problem could be fixed and there would be no more motivation to act in criminal manner. Overall, biological research on criminal activity could have a positive effect on not only criminals, but the criminal justice system.