Evaluation of Criminal Theory

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jacksonhenderson
Words 3220
Pages 13
Evaluation of Criminal Theory

The study relating to the causes of, and reasons for, crime has long been an interest to criminologist and psychologist. Since the mid 1800�s different aspects of the scientific community have explored the question of why people commit crime. This paper will discuss several theories that have developed over the years, how those theories have grown and changed and which theories seem to be the most prevalent today. The theories that will be discussed revolve around the biological and psychological study of crime, the strain and cultural deviance studies of crime and the social control aspects of crime. All of these studies and theories will be compared and examined to understand the standing of criminology today.

The first study of why people commit crime revolved around the belief that criminal behavior resulted from a persons� abnormal psychology. These theories suggest that criminal behavior is caused by some underlying physical or mental condition. These conditions separate the societies criminals from the non- criminals (Adler et. al, 2007 p.116). The first people to study this rationale where called Positivist Criminologist and believed that;

Human behavior is determined by forces beyond individual control and that is it possible to measure those forces�{They} view criminal behavior as stemming from biological, psychological and social factors.

(Adler et. al, 2007 p.60)

In the late 1870�s, Cesare Lombroso developed the theory that some people are just �born criminal� and have certain traits called atavistic stigmata that distinguish them from non-criminals. (Adler et. al, 2007 p.68) This theory soon lead to similar theories including the somatotype school of criminology. This theory was based upon a persons� physical build. Psychiatrist such as Ernst Kretschner, William Sheldon and Sheldon…...

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