One of the longest debates held in criminology concern the criminal behavior. There are those who have been supporting the notion that criminals are born while other have been arguing that criminals are actually made no born.
There is not side which can claim to have the correct answer for the question owing to the dimension of the issue and the amount of research that is used to back each claim.
One of the most important factors about the debate is that they both try to explore the criminal behaviors. Past researches have proved that criminals can either be made while other has shown that criminals can be born. Based on the long standing debate in psychology on nurture vs. nature, the debate on criminal behavior has become more complicated and more confusing. (Komiya, 1999)
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As early as 19th century, the debate had taken the centre stage in criminal psychology with high minded physician like Cesare Lombroso taking a number of skull measuring with an aim of proving that criminals usually have smaller brains compared to the law abiding citizens.
This study elicited different feelings with some giving it an interpretation that it showed criminals are actually born while others like Richard Herrnstein a Harvard Professor arguing that it showed that criminals are born with constitution factors which actually expose them to crime.
The conclusions of most of these researches have shown that off render usually differs from non-offenders in different characteristics in physique, intelligence and the personality. (Hare and Forth, 2003)
There are also a number of studies which have rooted on nurture rather than nature as the cause of crime. These studies have asserted that the environmental factors including the environment where one is brought up in contributes to the overall risk of one becoming criminals.
These studies have been based on the increased patters of crime which have been identified on some places like where there is high poverty compared to areas where the families are well up. These studies therefore assert that criminals are actually made rather than born. (Bowling and Farrel, 1999)
The nature and nurture debate
The nature verses nurture debated is pegged on the relative important that can be attached to the personal innate qualities as opposed to the individual experiences in the way they determine the difference in physical and the behavior development of the person.
This debate can be traced back to the time Darwin published his book Origin of species which rooted for the individual traits as the main factor leading to the development in physical and behavioral traits. This means that the growth factors or genes which are inherited from parents are held responsible for determining the future of the individual person. (Meaney, 2001)
On the other hand the Darwin view of the genetic factors being responsible for individual growth was opposed by behaviorist who argued that the environment rather than the inherited genetic factors should be held responsible for individual growth in physical and behavioral traits. This is the nurture side of the debate.
Those proposing on this side argue that the environment under which we live has a great effect on our overall development. This is supported by a number of social theorists who came up with several social and conditioning theories to support their argument. (Jennie, 2003)
The nurture and nature debate soon found its way into the world of criminology. The nature side of criminal behavior assert that criminal are born as criminals while the nurture side argues that criminals are made which means that the environment under which they live in can be help responsible for their criminal behaviors.
Those asserting that criminals are born supports their view with the argument that crime tend to run in families and children who are born of criminal parent have are three times more likely to become criminal in their adult life.
On the other hand those asserting that criminals are made assert that there is a high level of crimes which are committed on some areas especially where there is rampant poverty compared to other well up areas. They also support the argument showing that some environmental factors like a high exposure to lead and other are likely to result of criminal adults. (Lykken, 2005)
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