Are criminals born or made?

Essay by lenny212University, Bachelor'sB-, March 2009

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There has been constant debates between criminologist and various other people involved within the profession that someone's biological factors could influence them to commit crime or equally their environmental conditions are the major influence on them committing crime.

In this essay it is argued that criminals are made rather than born. The essay will base this argument on relevant theories and empirical research that has been undertaken on this topic.

The four main arguments presented are in favour of criminals being made as opposed to being born with criminal tendencies.

First, the essay will summarise the nature/nurture debate and describe what is meant by this debate, a definition of criminal behaviour will be looked at and will describe how it is applied to this debate.

Second empirical research by B.F skinner will be discussed and his approach to testing the nature between behaviour and the environmental settings that a person is exposed to.

This argument will include a study of Japans low crime rate compared with western countries and how this relates to high levels of self-control and environmental factors that can be a major cause of a person becoming involved in criminal activities through lack of a stable environment and low self-control.

Third, it is argued that child-rearing methods are important for the child's development, child-rearing that is not suitable or not administered in a nurturing environment can lead to criminality and deviance.

Fourth, this discussion will argue that the social learning theory is of big importance when deciding whether criminals are born or made. Relevant empirical research by Bandura will be included to give evidence and strengthen the argument. It is concluded that criminal behaviour is learnt and environmental factors are of much greater influence in determining if someone is likely to become criminal rather than just simply...