Criminology WJEC As Level Unit 2

Biological theories genetic XYY theory

Biological theories suggest that physical characteristics are the reason why people are more likely to commit crimes then others as criminal tendancies are inherited and genetic.

'XYY' theory is one that suggets chromosonal abnormalities are the reason people commit crimes. Chromosones are found in the nuclei, humans hve 46. 44 make up the shape of the body and 2 make up the sex.the pattern of the chromosones is what make the sex '**' for women and 'XY' for men. The Y chromosone is what makes the men. A chromonsonal abnormality such as 'XYY' in volving an extra Y in men who are called 'supermales' have been of intrest to criminologists as they are shown to be more incline to commit crimes. Jacob et al suggets the extra Y chromosone makes men more agressive then 'XY' men. Satistics show that super males are over represented in prison 15 per 1000 and 1 per 1000 in the general population. John wayne Gacy is said to have an extra Y chromosone and he sexually assulted, tortured and killed at least 33 men in USA. 

1 of 19

Biological theories genetic Twin studies

identical twins = Monozygotic (identical) as they are from one fertile egg. They share 100% of their DNA. Dizygotic twins (non-dentical)  are from two seprate eggs and only share 50% DNA. When both twins share a characteristic there is a condorance rate. To asses the genetic and enviromental influemces, twin studies have taken place that suggets genetic or nature plays a role in criminality to the etxtent that concordance( in agreement) in MZ twins is greater then DZ twins.

Johannes Lange found MZ twins showed much higher degree of condorance then DZ twins for criminal behaviour. 10/13 MZ twins had both served time in prisons where as 2/17 DZ twins had that condoance.

Christiansen found that 3586 twin pairs from the Danish isalnds are found concordance rates of 35% Mz and 13% DZ for male twins and 21% Mz and 8% Dz twins for females.

2 of 19

Biological theories genetic Adoption studies

Explaining criminal behaviour is the comparison of their biological parents and adoptive parents.Nature vs Nurture. looking at imapacts of nurture from non-biological. if the childs criminal behaviour is similar to the biological parents than the adoptive parent who they share the same enviroment, a genetic basis of criminality can be suggested. if the child is more similar to their adoptive parents than their biological parents then an enviromental argument can be established.

Hutchings and Mednick studied 14000 adopted children and found that a high proportion of boys with criminal convictions had biological parents with criminal convictions aswell. this suggets a link between genetics and agression.Mednick et al found no relationship between the number of criminal convictions children and their adopted parents but instead found a large correlation between criminal convictions between biological parents and their child.

3 of 19

Biological Physiological theories Lombroso

Lombros argued that criminals are seprate species between modern and primitive humans and that a 'born criminal' could be determined by physical shape of the head and face. he claims criminiality was inheritable and those with criminal convictions had ativistic ( acient) or primitive feautures. examples such as: large or forward jaws, high checkbones, flatterened or uturned nose, low slopping foreheads, long arms and large ears.

Lombroso examined features of 383 dead criminals and 3839 living criminals. he concluded 40% of criminal acts could be blamed on atavistic features, leading him to argue you can tell what type of crime someone can commit by how they look. ie muders= bloodshot eyes and curly hair and sexoffenders= thick lips and protruding ears. 

Lombroso also suggets born criminals also have an insensitivity to pain, use of criminal slang, tatoos and unemployment. Recent studies from China university actually suggests facial feautures can give a criminal away. ID photos from 1856 chinese men, half who had criminal convictions were put in a artifical intelligence program. they found ir wrongly flagged innocent men as criminals 6% of the time but correctly identidied 83% of real criminals.

4 of 19

Biological Physiological theories Sheldon

shares Lombrosos thoery that criminal behaviour is inked to phsycail form. After examining photographs showing the front and back of 4000 scanitly clothes men , sheldon suggested there were 3 types of somatotypes.

1. Endomorphic (fat and soft) = socialble and relaxed.

2. Ectomorphic (thin and fragile) = introverted and restrained 

3. Mesomorphic (mascular and hard) = agressive and adventurous 

Sheldon used corrolationstudy to find criminals prone to commiting violent and agressive acts were Mesomorphic and the least likely were extomorphic. Photographs from college studnets and deliquents rated on a scale of 1-7 their resembalence to mesomorphy. results showed deliquents rated higher then the avarage student.

5 of 19

Biological Physiological theories Brain abnormalit

several studeis show damage to pre-frontal cortext of brain can cause individuals can have a change in behaviour patterns. Raine et al used PET scans ( prodcue detailed three dimenstional images of the inside of the body) to study the living brains of impulsive killers. Damange was found in the pre-frontal cortext in brains of criminals in the part that controls impulsive behavior. 

Case study: Phineas Gage 

railway worker that survied large iron rod through head accient. it destroyed much of left frontal lobe of the brain. Gage's personality and behaviour were largerly effected, his friends said he was no longer himself. He bacame extravagant and antisocial using bad language and lied. the part of the brain he had lost was associated to the mental and emotional function that had changed. his doctors believed the intellectual facilities and ainmalistic behvaiour balance was destroyed in the accident. 

modern study from Mcisaac et al 2016 found people suffering serious head injuries are twice as likely to go to prison.( 0.5% comapred to 0.2%)

6 of 19

Biological Physiological theories Neurochemical

The brain's chemistry can be influenced by diet, pollution or hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars related to diabeties).

some studies show low levels of seritonin  are linked with higher agression. serotonin regulates signals between neurons and can control a persons mood.

Scerbo and Raine conducted a meta-analysis on 29 studies into anti-social adults and children finding low levels of seritonin in all of them. seritonin is controlled by diet in food such as nuts, dark chocolate, chicken and turkey.

people taking large amounts of steriods can become extremly violent 'roid rage'. setriods often taken to increase muscle growth and testosterone levels. Horance Williams an ameican bosy builder beat a man to death after taking 2000 times the recomended dosage of steroids.

7 of 19

Learning theories Alebert Bandura SLT

Believes you learn by watching others, if kids watch adults gain pleasure from an act or being punished they will repeat or reject those behaviours. to prove agression can be learnt from watching others Bandura conducted a series of experiments involovng bobo doll.

Case strudy: Bobo doll experiment

exposing children to two different adult models: an agressive model and a non-agressive model. the children watched the agressive model hit the bobo doll with the mallet etc. After watching this the children were then placed in a room without the model to see if they would act the same towards the bobo doll. and the same with the non agressive model. The expermient showed children copied the behaviours they were exposed to and even came up with new ways to hurt the doll.

violence and agreesion produced by: an arousal event, learned agressive skills, expected success and rewards and proviolence values.

8 of 19

Learning theories Psychodynamic Freud

Freud believed the best way to understand behaviour is to examine early childhoods and criminality was linked to guilt. Belived much of our mind is an unconcious region and this controls behaviour. 

Freaud developed the structre of the mind containing the divided personality.

  • the Id controlling our selfish and animalistic urges ( want instant gratification found deep in unconsious region)
  • the ego seeking rational and sensible control (less primitive the id, tries to be practical and realistic. tries to mediator between id and superego)
  • the superego being the moral conscience(concerend with social rules and morals of whats right and wrong) 

need a healthy balance of all 3 when theres a unresolved conflict it can result in major distrubed personality if one of them takes a dominant place in the brain. 

9 of 19

Learning theories Psycbological theories Eysenck

beleves certain personality types are more likely to commit crimes then others as they crave excitment but are slow to learn they have bad consequences. 

used personality questionaire on 700 soliders who were being treated for neurotic disorders at the hospital he worked at.  he identified 2 dimensions of personality.

  • extraversions/introversion: concerns amount of timulation a person needs. extravert is socialble but gets bored fast with no stimulation where as introverts are reliable and incontrol of their emotions.
  • Neuroticism/stability: concerns the level  of emotional stability of a person. Neurotics are very axious and often irrational. where as stable personailties are calm and emotionally incontrol.

he later added a third dimenstion 

  • psychoticism- a cold, uncaring and aggressive personality and this further indicated tendency to criminality.
10 of 19

Learning theory social structre

theory assums social structre disadvantages certian classes. its argued to be the primary cause of crime amd that criminal behaviour begins in youth. crime is largely a result of disadvantaged community. 

Marxists see crime as inevitable in a capitalist society as the bourgeosies use it as a means of  social control. those who dont conform are punished. institutions like the police, justice system, families and school etc are to encourage you to conform.

Arguing white collar crimes are ignored as they are commited by higher class people while crimes by less powerful people are focused on. marxists would argue different social classes are policed differently. Proletariats are heavily policed as thay are excpected to commit crimes and this raises chances of them being detected. 

marxists hold the view that the goverment fabricates satistics to suit their purpose  and get the public to suppoert any action taken by goveremt constructing their freedom. Marxist believe the goverment fabicrate an avarage of 42% of satistics.

11 of 19

Functionalist approach Martins strain theory

Merton argues society encourages us to subscribe to the goals of material success but society is unable to provide the legitimate means of success to everyone. not everyone can gain qualifications and access to jobs. proletartis are more likely then others to be denied material benifits. oppurtunties are blocked and consequently they experience feelings of strain and anomine where they strive for success but dont have the oppurtunities to reach the goals through legitimate means. 

if people can not acheve their goals they:

  • conform and accept situation
  • innovate by adopting criminal ways to gain material success
  • become ritualistic where they lose the sight of their gials
  • become retreatists and drop out of conventional society
  • become rebels and set alternitive ways, opposing goals rather then those promoted by society.
12 of 19

interactionalist approach to crime Becker labellin

interactionalists are intrested in how poeple in society inteacract with eachother. They argue official statistics are socially constructed and believe crime is also a social construction. Becker put forward the argument that crime is a subjective concept and agents of social control label certain behaviours as devient and criminal for them to be punished accordingly. 

Lemert refers to two specific types of deviance primary- where the act of devience has not been sociably labelled as deviant and secondary deviance where the act has been labelled.

when the behaviour is lablled as devient the person begins to view them self as a deliquent and it becomes thier 'master status' and they lead a self-fullfilling prophercy.

the media can contribute to this as they demonise people who are socially labled as deviant and create a moral panic.

13 of 19

realism approach

Right realism consider crime from a political conservatism (getting toughon crime). Charels Murray is a leading right realist who states everyone is tempted to commit crime but is the amount  of social bonds to us doing so. development of the underclass. Right realist question view that economic factors are the reason individuals are more liekly to commit crimes then others. when social constrates are weakend.

Left realism duggets crime lies in equalities created by a capitalist society. capitalism encourages levels of consumption but is unable to deliver it to all. some people are motivated by materialism and consumerism and turn to crime. 

14 of 19

newspaper campaigns Sarahs law

in 2000, Sarah Payne was 8 when she was abducted and murdered by Roy Whiting. he had been jailed before in 1995 for kidnapping and ideciently assultigng a nine year old girl. he was placed on the sx offenders list. on a fmaily trip Sarah and her siblings were allowed to play alone which is when she was kidnapped. the family were addiment that if they had known about Whiting being in the area they would of taken steps to protect her.

Sarahs partners started a campaign to have information about known sex offenders made aviavle to the public. the former sunday paper supported the campaign for change in law but the goverment denied it.  However the newspaper and Sarahs parents kept campaigning and when another girl was kidnapped and sexually assulted the goverment began to change. 

in 2008, a piolt scheme was introduced in four areas of the UK allowing oarents to make enquireies about named individuals. police would reveal details confeidentiallity to the person most able to protect the childif they thought it was necessary. in 2011 when the piolt was proved successful, the scheme was extended to over england and Wales. known as the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme.

15 of 19

Ann Ming's campaign to abolish double jeopardy law

the double jeorprad law prevents second prosecution of the same offence after an acquittal or conviction. Juli was was killed her home in 1989 and Dunlop was on trial for her murder. in 1991 a jury failed to reach a verdict. a second trial took place later that year but after a different jury failed to reach a verdict he was formally cleared. he later confessed to killing julie in belief double jeopardy law prevented him from going back on trial. he was convicted of perjury which is lying in court under oath but no action could be taken in connetion with the murder.

Ann Ming, Julies mother vowed to bring her daughter killer to juictice. she began her campaign to have the law abolished. she took her campaign to the newspaprs, radio and tv and politicians.

eventually the goverment backed chang to the law as a result of the criminal justice act 2003,double justice was abolished for 30 serious offences including murder. The law retrospective and Dunlop became the first person to be convicted under the new law, suviving life 19 years after.

16 of 19

Bobby Turnbull's anti gun campaign

on new years day 2012 Bobbys mother Alison and sister Tanya and auntie Susan were killed at their home by Michael Atherton, susans partner legally owned 6 weapons including three shotguns, desoite having a domestic violence histoy. After a triple murder he killed himself. Atherton had his guns removed from him after the previous domestic violence but they were retured to him. 

Bobby started his campaign to change gun laws and set up a hotline established for people to report gun concerns. He launched a petition gaining 20000 signitures, lobbied MPs and was in media. 

as a result of campaign, amendments to the firearms act 1968 came into effect. preventing anyone who recieves a suspended sentence of three months or more for any offence from purchasing a firearm. evert incident involving domestic violence regardeless of guns being involved shpuld be promp a police review of wether a firearm cetificate should continue but the hotline never launched.

17 of 19

clares law

clares law campaign to create a scheme that allows people to find out from the police, if their partner has a history of domesti violence.

Clares Wood was killed by her violent partner and the campaign was set up by her father Michael Brown. he was convinced clare would still be alive had she known the full extent of her partners previous behaviour. 

The campaing introduced ' Domestic Abuse Disclousre Scheme'. the aim to give members of the public a formal mechanism to make enquires about their partner or a partner of someone they know. 

18 of 19

Lillian's Law

lillians law campaign sought to introduce roadside drug testing devices, make it criminl to drive under the influence of drugs , have random  spot tests and give tougher scentences on drug driving.

14 yearold Lillian Groves was killed outside her home by a speeding motorist high on cannabis. Her family collected more then 22,000 signitures and met with David Cameron. Her mother wrote to every MP encouraging them to change it. 

As a result of the campaign in March 2015 chnages to the law were introduced by the Drug driving  england and wales regualtions 2014.

19 of 19

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Criminology resources:

See all Criminology resources »See all criminology theories resources »