Psychological and sociological criminal theories

Criminal behaviors have been studied extensively by several researchers as a result, they have come up several theories that are aimed at assisting them in gaining deeper understanding of these behaviors in order to come up with solutions. Psychological and social factors are highly attributed to criminal behaviors. Hence several psychological and sociological theories have been developed. In order to comprehensively study criminal behaviors in these two contexts so as to be in a position of fully addressing this problem that has devastated societies all over the world for ages.

Psychological and sociological factors are used frequently in explaining juvenile delinquency as well as the persistence and emergence of the juvenile gangs. Theories on sociology such as containment, social control, anomie, labeling and differential association all mirror different degrees of utility that is predictive relative to the delinquency conduct. Theories on psychology such as moral developmental stages, developmental theory, psychodynamic and social learning theories are frequently invoked in order to offer some deeper understanding of criminal behaviors and thinking. Both sociological and psychological factors are normally utilized simultaneously in explaining juvenile gangs because the interface that exists between these two theories is intertwined invariably. It is argued that application of strategies that are theoretical from many disciplines at the same time in synthesized theoretical systems creation to account for gangs formation and conducts of delinquency such as biological variables have higher utility of prediction as compared to the application of explanations that are based on single discipline (Wrightsman, Nietzel  Fortune, 1994).

Psychological and sociological criminal theories
According to the psychoanalytic psychological criminal theory, that virtually all human beings possess natural criminal urges and drives that are reserved in the unconscious. They therefore have some criminal propensities. However, through the socialization process, these propensities are held back by inner controls development, which are learned via the childhood experiences. This theory further suggests that faulty identification of children with their parents is the most widespread element, which is attributed to criminal conduct. Children who are not well socialized might develop a persona disturbance which causes them to direct either outward or inward antisocial impulses. For those children that direct these impulses inwards ends up being neurotic while those who direct these impulses outwards are more likely to become criminals (Wilson  Herrnstein, 1985).

The cognitive criminal theory suggests that criminal behaviors emanates from the manner in which an individual organizes his or her thoughts in regard to law and morality. According to this theory, the moral reasoning levels are three in number and each of these levels consists of two stages. The middle childhood is the level at which the children are experiencing their first moral development level. This is the pre conventional level in which the childrens moral reasoning is basically founded on punishment avoidance and obedience. The next level is known as the conventional moral development level, children reach this level in their middle childhood. At this particular level, their moral reasoning is mainly based on their families expectations. Post convectional is the final moral development level and it takes place in the early stages of adulthood. It is at this level where people are in a position of going beyond their social conventions. Even though they value the social system laws, they are usually open and can act as change agents in order to make improvements to the prevailing law and order. Those individuals who fail to progress well via the three levels might become captives of their moral development making them to become criminals (Cole  Cole, 1993).

The theory on sociological positivism proposes that various societal factors like subcultures membership, poverty and low education levels can subject people into criminal behaviors. Therefore, according to this theory, people are likely to become criminals due to the societies and environments they grow in. If the criminals who developed as a result of growing in these societies had the chance of growing up in different societies, then probably they would not have become criminals. This theory links crime to other factors such as education, poverty, alcohol and drugs abuse and gender (Wrightsman, Nietzel  Fortune, 1994).

Jesse James through his gang committed several crimes such as murdering bystanders and bank employees and robbing banks. He also waylaid trains and stagecoaches. However, the criminal behavior of James appears not to have been driven by the objective of making money and thus becoming wealthy, since in most cases he robbed from the rich and distributed the same to the poor. Using the psychoanalytic psychological criminal theory, it can be argued that since every human being has criminal urges and drives, James was no exception. Despite the fact that his criminal tendencies had been repressed for a long time, they eventually emerged during the civil war and exploited them (Wrightsman, Nietzel  Fortune, 1994).

Again looking at the cognitive criminal behavior theory, the criminal behavior of James can be said to have originated from the manner in which he organized his thoughts and deemed it fit to use robbed money to assist the poor. Without this form of thoughts arrangement, the criminal tendency of James could have remained repressed. Finally, looking at the sociological criminal theory of positivism, the criminal behavior of James can be said to have emerged due to the society he grew up in. His criminal behavior in this respect only emerged because of the society he found himself in and there is a high probability that he could not have become a criminal if he had grown up in a different society (Wilson  Herrnstein, 1985). 

Despite the fact that there are disparities in several theories explaining criminal behaviors among individuals, they are all similar in the belief they share. Criminal tendencies in several society aspects require to be dealt with. Via criminal theories, researchers usually seek to develop much deeper understanding on the manner in which they can prevent this type of behavior among the children before they reach their adolescent stage. If researchers manage to break through in their search for a lasting solution to this problem, then societies allover the world will be saved from the menace of criminal activities.


Post a Comment