Criminals: Born or Made?

Criminals: Born or Made?

Mack LeBlanc, Staff Writer

There is a long lasting, raging debate. It’s been going on for years, though with rising crime rates we wonder — are criminals born or made?

This feeds into the question of whether there is a direct bad or good and if we are predetermined to be one way when born. There is the old Freudian notion that we have a natural violent drive, and that our darkest desires reside deep in our subconscious.

However, this has been heavily refuted and comes with no merit. According to Psychology Today, the statement that we are naturally good has some weight as it would “explain acts of true kindness, especially in the face of potential consequences.” (I’ll link the articles I used to research at the end of the article.) Though it seems most logical that we are born flexible, moldable, neutral if you will.

Some will argue that it’s genetics; criminals are criminals from birth, and they could never have helped it. A “murder gene” some may call it. In the psychological field, the equivalent of what is spoken about here is called the “warrior gene” according to the BBC. This gene is found in thirty percent of the male population; women are less likely to have this gene because of the differences in the number of chromosomes between the sexes.

Despite this, there is no solid evidence of men committing more crimes than women if you take into consideration that arrest records aren’t all-telling, as there are lots of people that don’t get reported and don’t get caught. Not to mention that because the gene can lay dormant, or simply be fought and repressed, it’s very unlikely that the reason for a person being a criminal is totally due to genetic material.

Another point that may be made is that criminals are born because extreme mental illness is born. While it has been proven that one is born clinically insane, and people are born as psychopaths, this does not guarantee a criminal. In fact, only five percent of incarceration individuals suffer from psychotic disorders and only six percent from personality disorder. Far more suffer from depression, which could simply be a result of them being locked up in the first place.

Criminals being born starts to look like a more and more outrageous notion the farther you research. In addition, the thought of criminals almost always having a motive, which is usually something happening in their environment, gives great heft to criminals being made.

It seems to come down to making a distinction between criminals and those with mental illness. The answer to this debate comes to an end at, insanity is born, but criminals are made.

Links Used for Research:

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