According to Lombroso criminal is a detach species that is connected with modern and primitive nature. He argued that physical body appearance determined if the person was born to be a criminal. He majorly emphasized on the shape of the head and face. These people were viewed to be primitive and believed to be unable to adapt to modern morality life. These views were supported regarding the biological and genetic makeup of a person. Persons with primitive genetic forms had massive jaws and ears, high cheekbones, extra nipples, toes or fingers, large eyes and were not sensitive to pain even when severely tortured physically. Lombroso noticed psychological differences among different criminals. According to his research based on psychological differences, killers had unique body features which included: cold, glassy, blood-shot eyes, masculine, curly, abundant hair, strong jaws, long ears and slender lips. In contrast, sex offenders had glossy eyes, muscular jaws, broad lips, lots of hair and projecting ears.
Sheldon views of criminal behavior were based on somatotype theory. He was a physician who observed the relationship between body build and behavioral tendencies, character, life expectation, and vulnerability to disease. He came up with an idea of classifying people into three body shapes which corresponded with the three different personality types to determine the criminal nature of a person. People were believed to be endomorphic, ectomorphic and mesomorphic. The endomorphic were fat and soft also; they were thought to be friendly and calm also non-violent. Ectomorphic, who was slender and weak, were considered to be shy and reserved also could not commit a crime. The mesomorphic were masculine with huge bone were believed be more violent and prone to committing crimes and were more aggressive. According to Sheldon’s research, most criminals were believed to the mesomorphic people. However, Sheldon’s work was condemned on methodological and subjective proof by many scholars; Gleuck supported Sheldon’s theory on basing on criminal behaviors. Glueck discovered among the mesomorphs over 50% were antisocial the rest were not.
The biological theory explains that causes of crime are related physical body appearance, inherited genes, evolutionary factors, brain structure hormones role which are the factors that influence an individual to commit a crime. The mechanisms propose that some biological factors like specific genes, neurological deficits, low serotonin action malnutrition and environmental contaminants can also affect an individual’s biological tendency for antisocial behaviors. On the contrary, there are responses which biological theories offer, for instance in maternal health programs they have been applied to cases of smoking and drinking among expectant women, thus reducing neurological damage to the developing fetus.
The developmental life-course theory explains crime as a developmental process that begins before birth and persists throughout someone’s life. It relates a person’s relationship between genetics and personalities and also family and community issues. The theory argues that while genetic factors are likely to be more important in an early life of a person, the outcomes of social influences grow in due course. A major characteristic usefulness of developmental life course theory approach can be useful to the classification of major developmental moments that aims at promoting optimistic development. Also, it can be applied in pre- and post-natal care to ensure that infants are well taken care of during this stage. Additionally, the theory is applied in data analysis on offenders’ lives to plan for government reaction. Psychological on the hand theories focus on some perceptions that cause crime. It is imperative to note that the theory illustrates the connection between crime and personalities of person, Social factors, cognition and developmental factors. The theories have a different level of focus on people, family, and group. Psychology theories play a role in parent caring procedures and supervision on antisocial behaviors of children.
There are several theories which explain the cause of criminal activities among people. However, some people think that that crime is a rational choice also criminals weigh the rewards and punishment before committing a crime. Others tend to believe that criminals are biological and psychologically different from other law-abiding citizens. One common feature of all theories is that they approach crime focusing on an individual. According to the social theory, the society creates an environment under which a person commits a crime. In other words, the society influences criminals, and that crime is a social predicament not personal. Bandura’s social learning theory viewed crime as a learned idea from others. People may learn from others through observations, emulating and modeling. The theory was viewed as a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning because it focuses on attention, memory, and motivation. He believed in reciprocal determinism that antisocial behaviors are caused by the world and a person’s characters. Behaviorism states that an individual’s surrounding causes their behaviors. In his adolescent study, Bandura found out that behavior also influenced the environment. He later considered personality as individual’s ability to certain images in memory and language.
Social theories focus on three major theories of crime and briefly explain the importance through social environment. The theories are strain theory, social learning, and control theory. Strain theory views crime as a direct result of frustration and anger among the lower social, economic classes in society. Although most people share similar values and goals, socioeconomic class stratifies the ability to achieve personal goals. The strain is limited in an affluent area because educational and vocational opportunities are available. In disorganized areas, strain proliferates because legal opportunities for achievement are limited. To alleviate the situation, indigent people may achieve their goals through unusual means and reject the social norms.
Some criminologists focus their attention on the social processes and interaction that occur in all segments of the society. They believe that, rather than strictly being a product of their environment and their place in social structures, most people are shaped by their interactions with social institutions like schools and with social groups such as family, peers, and neighbors. As they develop and socialize over their life course, their relationship can either be positive or supportive, or dysfunctional and destructive. If the latter is the norm, then conventional success may be impossible for a person to achieve. The criminal solution may become an only feasible alternative. This view of crime is known as social learning theory which views crime as a learned behavior. Alternatively, control theory maintains that each person has the will to engage in crime or control themselves.
According to personality theories each person has their distinctive psychological structure and that only the same single person is the only one who possesses the characteristics. It is quite difficult to contrast one person with another; it is a biologically based theory. Personality theories focus on the comparisons among individuals. It suggests that traits share psychological structures in every person. Nature interactions influence must be well thought-out in respect traits development. Eysenck model of personality contains three components: the psychoticism, the introversion, and the neuroticism. He associates extraversion and introversion to criminal behaviors. Extroverts are thought to have huge, eager, action-oriented, talkative, and persuasive. While the introverts tend to be calm with a low profile. Individuals who fall at the far ends of either trait, either extremely extroverted or extremely introverted are at risk for antisocial behaviors. For example, the extroverts who are also unstable, a condition that Eysenck calls neuroticism are restless, tense and emotionally unstable. They may be destructive sometimes.
Personality is the reasonably stable patterns of behavior, which include thoughts and emotions that distinguish one person from another. A person’s personality reflects a characteristic way of adapting to live’s demand and predicaments. Our behaviors determine our personal interpretation of life occurrences and the decision to implement. Personality theories like a crime to personal traits. Traits such as impulsivity, hostility, narcissism, hedonism, and aggression are highly correlated to antisocial behaviors. Personality imperfections have been connected not only to aggression behaviors but also to white collar and business crimes. Personality theories suggest that some people lack concern, they cannot sympathize with others. This character makes them prone to antisocial behaviors. People or groups that share a character defect are known to be a sociopathic, psychopathic or antisocial personality.
In genetic, social and personality theories criminal activities are as a result of influence from different circumstances. Behavior and character traits in all the theories are common causative agents of antisocial behaviors. They all agree that behavior defines a person’s future life whether they will be criminal or non-criminals. In all theories, criminals are believed to have unique characters with unique physical appearances. Also, their emotional characters are different from other law-abiding citizens. While genetic theory views antisocial behaviors as inherited genes from generation to another and that people are born to be criminals due to the genes they inherited from antisocial family members. Social and personality view crime in different perspective, people are not criminal, and that criminal behavior is not inherited, but the environment influences them. The genetic theory does not relate crime to wealthy classes and family gap unlike the personality and social.
Criminal behaviors seem to the way of life for many people. People commit a crime in their daily lives so that they can cater to their needs. Various theories have explained the reasons for why people commit crimes and how criminal behaviors develop in an individual’s life. Until now the major cause of crime is unequal opportunities in both employment and wealth in among people in different societies. Employment and wealth opportunities are still concentrated among the powerful and the high class while those from lower class are still suffering. To solve this situation all should be given opportunities in all aspects of life if this is considered we will be sure of a society without criminals.