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Research Response

Supporters of biological theories of crime causation hold the opinion that delinquency is inherited. According to these theories, genetics is a major factor that influences the person’s inclination to criminal activity. It is claimed that a child born in a family of criminals is more likely to commit a crime in the future as they have already got into the risk group by their origin. Moreover, according to some studies, certain physiological features mark people of criminal behavior. Genetically predisposed to a crime people tend to have brain dysfunctions such as defects in particular lobes of the brain, developmental disorders, or attention deficit disorder. Since the brain is considered to be an organ of behavior, criminal activity is closely linked with its activity. There is also an opinion that the chromosome complement has a direct impact on the rate of delinquency; however, this assumption has not been well grounded scientifically. Another significant principle of these theories is the dependence of the crime rate on gender and race. Thus, in finding possible reasons of crime committing, biological theories rest upon inborn peculiarities of people.

Together with biological theories, there exist such widespread theories of crime causation as sociological and psychological. On the one hand, sociological theories mark out the life conditions of a person as the major factor of influence on their behavior. On the other hand, psychological theories focus on the mental state of people and their possible psychological traumas acquired during their life. Though there are many theories of crime causation based on the merging of biological, sociological, and psychological theories, biological theories differ from the rest ones due to the focus on the physical body of the potential criminals. The scholars study the impact of physical processes in the organism on the behavior of a person. Unlike sociological or psychological theories, which presuppose the formation of delinquency during the person’s life and its dependence on the life conditions, biological theories claim that the fundamentals of human behavior, including criminal, are rooted in unconscious behavioral responses and may be inherited.

The main shortcoming of biological theories is a failure to scientifically prove any idea. Though there are many researches being conducted, nearly all of them show only the possibility of inheritance of propensity for violent behavior. There is some evidence of influence of certain genes, defects of neurological activity, and brain dysfunction on the violent conduct of a person. However, these assumptions cannot be accepted completely as the reasons of human criminal behavior can be regarded only taking into the account all the factors which may have influenced the person’s life and resulted in a crime. Focusing only on the physical state of a person, biological theories do not consider the psychological processes which happen in the brain of a person and are an essential motive of their behavior.

Biological theories have encountered much criticism mainly because of their restricted limits of criminal nature explanation. Focusing only on the physical processes in the human organism, biological approach disregards a whole scope of possible reasons of criminal behavior, which might be decisive. What is more important is that according to biological theories, people have almost no choice in their life. Born in a family of criminals or of certain sex or race, a child gets a label of a future criminal. Thus, this attitude may change their life from the very beginning and eventually result in a committed crime. Ignoring the influence of sociological and psychological factors, adherents of biological theories relieve parents, teachers, and society of any responsibility for the future of the children born in a criminal’s family, having already marked them as anti-social and delinquent. Thus, biological theories encourage preconceived opinion of people with criminal roots. However, the society should always leave a chance of improvement even to delinquent individuals.

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