Order 441686 Topic: In what ways do socio-biological theorists explain criminal behaviour? BiologicalPositivism is an extremely wide subject area, as wide as the scope of criminal behaviour is! Many researchers are doing overtime to find out the causes of criminal behaviour. Consensus is there amongst the researchers that biological basis of criminality exists, and this could be one of the starting points to understand the mind and disposition of the criminals. Why do criminals behave the way they behave? In this connection, two approaches are prevalent as per the current thinking—one genetic, the other biochemical. But neither of these approaches proves conclusively about the criminal tendencies amongst individuals. Biology does interact with sociological forces that take one to the path of crime. If this concept is perfectly understood, proper steps for effective treatment to offenders can be taken. Genetic variations are conducive to increased violence risk. To be precise men with an extra Y chromosome have a higher propensity for violence—this just one of the findings.
Roger Hopkins Burke, in his book “An introduction to Criminological Theory,” writes, “Biological positivism behaviour can be explained by a genetic susceptibility triggered by environmental factors.”(p.63) He has discussed the issue in detail in a separate chapter on “Biological Positivism.”(p .55-72) He further adds that “Biological positivism suggests a direct link between testosterone and aggression.”(p.67)
Adoption and twin studies also relate to biological influences on maladaptive behaviour. The other influencing factors are alcohol syndrome, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder and birth defects. These conditions interact with sociological factors and thus add to the risks of criminal behaviour. The significant factor of criminality is found to be the effects of alcohol. Hormones have a telling effect on the aggression of an individual. Hormonal imbalance results in increased aggression. Childhood trauma and criminal behaviour have close links. With more or less unanimity about the influence of biology on criminal behaviour, it is time to look at the treatment modules of such criminals. A detailed study of biology, genetics and psychology is required to determine treatment of a particular criminal, for both mental health and correctional professionals. “Biological Positivism reduction in offending behaviors is seen as possible by the use of treatment programmes.”(p.71)
The opposing viewpoints whether genetics plays the most important role or environmental factors are responsible for the criminal behaviour lead to the conclusion that both are responsible. The only issue to be examined is whose impact is more in a particular case. The effects of nature and nurture need to be studied in tandem. Genes do influence behaviour to a certain extent. But genes cannot explain the environmental factors. In support of the biological factors Burke writes, “Biological Positivism proposes that human beings commit crime because of internal physiological factors over which they have little or no control.”(p.281)
Treatment to the root cause for the antisocial, delinquent and criminal behaviour needs to be identified at the young age, if the principles of biological positivism are followed in right earnest. Educational, environment enrichment programmes have a salutary effect on children. Society should also identify and take care of the breeding ground of future criminals and their anti-social behaviour.
Burke, Roger Hopkins. An Introduction to Criminological Theory: Willan Publishing.2nd Edition, 2005.