Explanations of criminal behvaiour, chapter one EVALUTATIONS.

evaluations of chapter one

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Explanations of criminal behaviour, evalutions, M-


Methodological debate:

Price(found 28% of men in hospital for the clinically insane possesed the XYY gene) - collected quantative data of men with XYY gene.

- cheap and easy to use, - easy to analyse, -high in reliability.


Jacobs: evidence that 15/1000 or 30% of men in prision population were XYY = quantitative data.

-lacks detail, - can outline casual relationships between the XYY gene dysfunction and criminal behaviour, and therefore offers help.

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psychosocial model: tends to collect qualitative data through self reports or psychometric tests. eg.

farrington and west: interviewed teenage delinquents on why young people offend.

-rich in detail,-but subject to researcher bias, and possibility of demand characteristics.


Ressler: 42% or murdererers in USA had been sexually abused as youngsters. Found through interviews, but could be subject to demand characteristics as participants may have lied to gain sympathy. lacks control over variables, reduces the ability to infer cause and effect.

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Explanations of criminal behaviour, evaluations M-


main problem with biomedical: LABELLING.

Jacobs: XYY gene: labelling. The men could feel that they are genetically predisposed to commit crime and therefore cannot change this - learned helplessness.


Rushton: black people are more likely to be involved in crime due to genetic inferiority:

ethnocentric bias towards black people, causing labelling effects when infact could be due to social disadvantage.


TO THE PSYCHOMETRIC MODEL: informed consent, deception and psycho harm.

Farrington and Wests: participants as young as 8 years old took part which means that they were too young to give informed consent and therefore could cause unwanted harm and distress for the juvinilles. (memorys were brought up for 30years).

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Explanations of criminal behaviour, chapter one, M


Biomedical model: our genetics and biology that determine whether we will engag in criminal behaviour.

Jacobs: men with XYY are more agressive than men with XY chromosome. 30% of prision population possessing this gene.


Price: 28% of mentally insane hospital had XYY.

These studies are of limited usefulness because they limit the reason of crime to one biological factor and do not take into acount enviroment or social factors. They are also deterministic as they imply that maladaptive behaviours cannot be changed or minimised but only controlled by the use of chemotherapy. This has the problem of high relapse rates as it generates low self efficacy in offenders, making them feel that they cannot change their behaviour as it is pre-determined in their genes.

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psychosocial approach:

Farrington and west: found a number of common factors associated with persistant offenders (big family, poor, neglected as a child). Provides valid and effective suggestions to minimise and prevent criminal behaviour by adressing social influences,for example teaching good parenting skills and also improving housing.


Hargreves: identified features of schools who have high delinquency e.g. high staff turnover, low staff commitment and streaming. Therefore to reduce crime rates in juveniles, schools could also be improved.

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Explanations of criminal behaviour, chapter one, M


Biomedical: effects of retribution through imprisionment. Imprisionment can lower people's self worth and self-efficay, thus encoraging de-individualisation and de-humanisation, as Zimbardo asserts.

Criminals are more likely to offend after being in prision! The majority of females re-offend within 2years of leaving prision (HO STATS).

Ressler states that 42% of sex murderers from the USA were sexually abused as children, therefore very vunerable people are being jailed and this could actually do more harm to society as they are more likely to re-offend than if they were given help for their problem.

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to the implications for the psychosicial model: changes can be made to society to reduce crime rates.

Farrington and West's study showed how parental neglect, poor housing, and poverty can cause someone to re-offend. This has implications to the government that they should improve houses and educate parents to redue re-offending rates.


Hargreaves: indicates that schools should improve their teachers commitment and resources in order to reduce juvinile crime.

Empowering offenders to develop a strong internal locus of control could also help to reduce re-offending rates. The psychosocial model argues that an ideographic rehabilitation approach is the most effective way of reducing re-offedning behaviours.

An example is Carl Rogers 'Client Centered Therapy', which aims to assist the offender in overcoming their personal problems.

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