Essay by AethwynnCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2008

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Criminology is the study of the behavior that violates law, and the explanation for that behavior. It seeks to identify the causes of crime, and to prevent it, or at least to identify the possible causes of it so that we may gain a better understanding of how the criminal mind works.

This sounds far easier than the reality of it is. There is no magic wand to wave over someone’s head to determine if they will ever commit a crime, nor is there a way to magically see if someone’s genes make them predisposed to commit a crime. Even with all of the studies, the interviews and tests run on criminals currently behind bars, we are still no closer to being able to pinpoint what makes a criminal commit crimes. In some cases it can be linked to very poor judgment, others can be attributed to antiquated, outdated laws that seem to be enforced at will when it suits the lawmakers.

Some argue that there is a biological element in some people that makes them more likely to commit a crime. There is an extra gene that some people have that causes them to be more violent, or to be predisposed to break the law.

Others will argue that it only matters how the person was raised, if they were taught to obey the law they will, if they were not, they won’t. If someone is raised in a home environment where, say their father runs a heroin lab, they will grow up thinking that selling drugs is ok.

Still others will argue that the fault lies in the laws themselves in some cases. For example, there is a law in Georgia stating that you cannot sell alcohol on Sunday. 1 Who, in reality, is this law hurting? By...