Biosocial approach to crime
The exploration of family background has focused the discussion on the parents who have been put in the limelight for acting as contributing factors in letting children getting exposed to crime when they are young at a tender age of three to eleven. Theories formulated have tried to explain varying factors which lead to the development of crime and more so the development of criminal behaviors. Many in the field have come up with the various factors which contribute to the same with the opinions varying. The different theories that have been explored by different sources and stakeholders to explain crime in the field of criminology have not settled on the same level in terms of highlighting and agreeing on the different factors which contribute to the presence as well as the manifestation of criminal behavior (Wright & Boisvert, 2009).
Parents have been questioned as to the ways their children have been brought up with factors such as poor parenting in this case neglect being highlighted as elements which lead to criminal behavior (Lab, 2013). In trying to explain criminology, there are those theories which have put their focus on the neighborhood factor. Some theories will highlight or tend to explore criminology from the perspective of socialization. Other theories will look at it from the angle of subcultures while others look for explanations from the perspective of peer group socialization. For different reasons, the common aspect has been that social factors are at the core of explaining crime as well as other antisocial behavior. The theories that explain crime are inadequate. When the variables are taken into consideration in the various criminology studies, there is still missing aspect in explaining the various antisocial that lead to crime. The new theories developed by criminologists have tended to integrate the same old variables packing the same in a different manner every time. With the foundation of science being falsification, where ideas with no support are discarded and replaced with new theories, this has not been the case with criminology. The end result is the presence of a large number of criminology theories which are weak in explanations of crime, antisocial behavior as well as delinquency (Raine, 2013). This paper shall look at the current research and develop the biosocial criminology approach Crime.
The new take is the biosocial criminology approach. This has been an emerging interdisciplinary perspective in the explanation of crime as well as antisocial behavior. The biosocial criminology approach has offered the channel and the means to look at crime and the presence of antisocial behavior in the society by looking and recognizing the presence of a range of factors contributing to crime. For biosocial criminology approach, the theory explores the aspect of crime by looking at factors such as environmental factors, neuropsychological factors, evolutionary factors as well as the genetic factors as playing a role in criminology. The inclusion of these new factors has widened the spec as well as thinking in criminology (Beaver, 2009).
Earlier methods have been boosted in terms of offering more explanation into criminology by departing from the mainstream criminology. This has been the much needed boost in terms of advancing the field. More powerful explanations in the various antisocial behaviors have been awaited for long with biosocial criminology approach coming to the rescue in offering the same. Biosocial criminology is the interdisciplinary perspective which has been designed to bring together information from the various fields and form a unified as well as coherent perspective in the study of criminals and crime (Raine, 2013). The reception has not been good though with the method being faulted as being new in terms of exposing the factors which contribute to crime and criminology, the method has been faulted by the various criminologists as being oppressive and dangerous. The thought by many criminologists whose basis was on sociology that crime could be affected by biology is one not many criminologists are willing to explore.
Over the recent past, hesitation as well as the critics in terms of using this new method in the explanation of crime has been boosted by the fact that it has emerged from the various empirical studies that exploration of the biosocial origins of the various antisocial behaviors is indeed welcome and needs to be evaluated further. As opposed to earlier methods, this is indeed not a method that traces its root in the study of the past factors like they have been evaluated by the other criminology theories, justifying the need to explore crime from a different perspective and angle.
There is need to introduce a new approach in criminology to evaluate new and promising policy implications. The fear and the concern that biosocial perspective has the potential to affect the policy implications when used in criminology is a myth that needs to be done away with. The view by criminologists that biosocial research is there to introduce oppressive as well as inhumane policies has been highlighted as the reason why this field should be taken and approached with caution (Wright & Boisvert, 2009). However, the attack on the field of research in this case the use of biosocial criminal approach is unfounded. The opponents of the approach have failed to use empirical data in coming up with the reason why biosocial approach should be done away with.
The pretense that such factor as biology and genetics not playing a role when evaluating the factors that lead to crime or the emergence of antisocial behavior only limits the scope of the field. What emerges is the use and proliferation of a false base in criminology. The only way to ensure that crime is tackled is by accurate identification of the causes. Accurate identification means that all the avenues have to be evaluated. Fearing the implications of policies based on the use of biosocial perspective is a big limitation and oversight in the criminology sector (Welsh & Farrington, 2012). It should not be left to the sociological criminologists to choose the acceptable interception when it comes to criminology. Doing so will portray of self- centeredness from the criminologists. It is not within such a group to forecast the type of research that will ensure progress in the field of criminology. It is not within them to determine which policies will be oppressive and which ones will not. Thus, it is in order to try and look for policy implications in criminology from biosocial approach.
With the aim of showing that there can be realistic policy implications even with the considered new biosocial criminology approach, it is necessary to look at one of the components which make up various aspects in biosocial criminology approach showing that the approach is welcome in the current times with the chance to offer realistic policies. Biosocial criminology approach lays an emphasis on the environment being key in explaining criminology. There is a huge shortcoming when it comes to the study of the effect of environmental factors using the conventional criminology research. The use of such methods exposes the need to have the current take in terms of evaluating this factor using the biosocial approach perspective. This shortcoming is the gap that biosocial criminology approach wishes to address (Welsh & Farrington, 2012).
Such shortcomings include the one where in trying to expose the environmental effects on crime, there has been the tendency by many in the research field to misspell the research if the genetic factors are not controlled. In the studies that have been committed towards explaining the source of such biasness, the notions in some of the reasons have also been varied. Highlighting one of the cases, parents who are and who engage in child abuse have been shown to most likely contribute to their children maturing into adults who show antisocial behavior. This means that for such a factor as parents and as far as the study of environmental factors is concerned, the presence of an abusive environment has and leads to the presence of antisocial behaviors in the children of the future.
The exposure to crime at an early age is the contributing factor to the presence and emergence of the crime (Wright & Boisvert, 2009). However, as much as this may be the correct inference when evaluating the effects of crime, there is need to look at and evaluate the possibility of biasness in such a conclusion. In the study, there may be the tendency to miss the effect of other factors such as genes in such a case. For a researcher in such a case, they will have failed to recognize the role of genes. Biosocial criminology approach will on its part consider such a factor as genes being key in the explanation. There may be the possibility that genes have been the cause of antisocial behavior. This means that for various parents who may have brought up their children in an abusive environment, the parents transmitted the genes to be abusive to the child which in turn makes the given child to have antisocial behavior (Beaver, 2009). Evaluating such a case with conventional criminology theories would not expose such a probability.
Another drawback to the use of mainstream criminology in the study of the effect of the environment in crime and antisocial behavior and the need to use biosocial criminology approach is the fact that environments can be termed as not being purely social, but should be taken as biosocial entities which at some point will be affected by factors such as genetic dispensations. An illustration is the fact that in most of the social studies which have been carried out, there has been the notion that exposure of vulnerable groups such as the youth has been a factor which leads to antisocial behavior.
Social learning theorists have been at the forefront in trying to show how the exposure to peer pressure affects the youth in making them acquire antisocial behaviors. However, in their explanations, they miss factors such as behavioral genetic research which reveals the fact that one’s tendency to engage in antisocial groups in this case peer pressure will result from genetic factors. The selection as well as the choosing of the peer pressure groups by the various youths who engage in antisocial behaviors is as a result of each and every individual’s genotype (Welsh & Farrington, 2012). This shortcoming in literature as far as evaluating the effect of the environment using mainstream criminology research is the reason there is need to use biosocial criminology approach.
Not relying on mainstream criminology research, biosocial based research adds to research on the effect of the environment in affecting and leading to antisocial behavior in this case crime. There is the evaluation of the various factors which come into play as far as criminology is involved. One of the main factors is the presence of non-shared environmental factors. The emphasis on such factors brings to the forefront the unique way in which such factors play a role in explaining crime. In return, the factors bring with them the possibility of exposing and adopting realistic policies (Wright & Boisvert, 2009).
For the case of non- shared environmental factors, these are the factors which will lead to the presence of uniqueness in a given situation as opposed to similarities in the same. The use of shared environment such as the evaluation of behavioral genetic factors in search for the reasons which contribute to crime and antisocial behavior has been shown to have shortcomings in the form of accounting for a small percentage in the explanations. The variance for the same has been shown to be as low as ten percent or in some cases less than this. This is not the same as having and taking into consideration the non-shared environment which has shown to offer better statistics. For the variance in the same, it has been shown to be in the range of 40 percent of the measures in antisocial behaviors. Thus comparing the two, it has been advantageous to utilize the biosocial aspect in the study of antisocial behavior more so crime. (Lab, 2013).
The evaluation of non-shared environments through the use of biosocial criminology approach helps to expose the specific factors which are influential in as far as the study of crime is involved. For this case, there is the use of other research designs in the studies which help boost such research as well as the human society develops. The evidence. Through the study and the use of this research designs, one of the non- shared environmental groups of factors which have been exposed as having or leading to antisocial behavior in this case crime is the birth complications which occur with mothers.
Though ignored, birth complication has been identified as one of the factors which have serious repercussions as the same can and results in the irreversible brain damage to the children. The environment where mothers give birth will lead to their children being exposed and being put at risk when they are being delivered. (Raine, 2013). This risk and effect on the brain will translate to child brain developing complications. The brain complications may lead to the child acquiring the tendency to show more than normal behavior which in return makes such children prone to crime from a non- shared perspective.
The use of biosocial perspective in the study of the relation between crime and the environment is efficient in the exposure of the factors which contribute to criminology. One of the factors which come into play is childhood. The use of biosocial factors in the study of the factors which contribute to the presence of crime recognizes the fact that childhood plays a critical role in determining whether a given individual will be prone to crime. (Rocque et al., 2012). The very first years in a child when the brain is undergoing immense growth can and has the tendency to be affected by the environmental stimuli. This is a factor which is not recognized by the use of the conventional criminal research when tackling the importance of the environment in early life. For most of the researches, they only focus on the environment playing a role in contributing to crime when an individual is either in adolescence or in adulthood. This is a weakness which needs to be resurrected with biosocial approach offering the same.
As per the use of biosocial method, there is need to put into consideration the fact that there is the presence of a pool of evidence which indicates and tells the fact that early life development in children is as important as late development in as far as crime is involved (Raine, 2013). Through the use of biosocial studies, the implications are even dire with the realization that early life environments have the most lasting effect in children. Early childhood environments have an effect where they lead to the development of temperaments in children which in turn lead to the presence of subsequent problem behaviors in this case including engaging in crime.
Section 2 – Potential Policy of Approach
The use of biosocial criminology approach in the study of the way environmental factors play a role in leading to crime is critical in exposing the need to have a policy on the same which will involve eliminating controlling crime way before it happens. The use of biosocial criminology approach present criminology with the best solutions in terms of policies which will make sure that crime is controlled. With a look at how the environment plays a huge role in determining whether individuals are prone to crime or not, there is the need to have a policy that will work effectively in eliminating such cases. The fact that the evaluation done on the environmental factors with biosocial criminology approach playing a big role in taking into consideration all the elements and how they influence crime means that the presence of such factors such as birth complications and childhood means that there is the need to look at policies that focus on the young when it comes to trying to control such factors in an attempt to control criminology. Towards the same one of the realistic policy implications of a biosocial criminology approach that should be adopted is the early development mode of crime prevention.
Specific Components of Policy Suggestion
Specific Components of Policy Suggestion, it involves the control of crime in the early stages of development in this case the focus being on the prenatal to childhood stage (Rocque et al., 2012). The use of early development crime prevention method to control crime is strongly hinged on the fact that crime which develops later either in adolescent stage or in the adulthood of any given individual is largely and therefore it is important to intervene in childhood criminal activities before they escalate. The primary focus of early development crime prevention method is that roles society places on women. However, many studies and statistical researches are done in UK prisons and by the police associate women with criminal activities develop in stages and early intervention prevents further transition of criminal activities. The main transition points re at birth, before school, from primary to high school and from high school to adulthood.
It means that as children develop, they will engage with their environment in such a manner that this interaction leads to having or acquiring habits which leads to crime. The early stages of child development have been recognized as crucial in their formative years, especially in leading to a healthy biological development in human beings. The implications have to be seen from the angle that early adversity in life has been recognized as a factor which leads to severity in brain development.
The effects of childhood environment interact in such a way they lead to the development of later cognitive functions. Finding how to control and have early intervention is a guarantee to having the early development crime prevention work. Developmental based intervention takes the form of organized resources in the environment the child grows up framed in such a way that makes sure that they have the best characteristics in terms of behavior to forestall future development of crime or other related problems (Welsh & Farrington, 2005).
Prevention of crime early controls and prevents the occurrence of future crime. The fusion of the environmental aspect becomes critical where the control in the same can be achieved early enough and in the process forestall future problems. Through positive parenting programs for instance, rents have access to knowledge resources that create positive environment for their children. There is the need to identify exactly the families, communities or school surroundings which are some of the environments that heavily interact or a child relates with when they are growing up. Additionally, there is the need to look at such aspects in terms of trying to identify the conditions which will ensure that crime is minimized in such cases.
Early intervention has to be understood from the perspective of being inclusive in the study of the multidisciplinary services which will be designed to enhance health and also the well-being of the children during their formative years. Early intervention means that there is the need to look at the various factors which will ensure that a given child develops into a responsible adult who keeps away from crime when they finally get to adulthood. Risk factors have to be identified early enough in making sure that future crime is preventable. Early development crime prevention will be able to look at the various factors which may lead to the successful prediction of the development of crime at later stages such as the presence of such behaviors as antisocial behavior in the children, the lack of parental supervision, the abuse of children as well as weak parental attachment (Wright & Boisvert, 2009). All of the factors are the specifics that go into preventative efforts to bring to control crime in early development.
The use of early development crime prevention as the most realistic approach when it comes to criminology and the prevention of the same is not random. There is the need to evaluate the empirical evidence which supports this approach. One of the best cases which provide the much needed information about the working of the early prevention approach is a project which was carried out in a preschool. The results of this experiment shows how success can be achieved when it comes to coming up with this policy as the best method in devising the best form of making sure that future crime is prevented in later stages of development by tackling the problem at early stages. Looking at experiment, the Perry Preschool project is one of the most recognized forms of project which sheds light on the probability of achieving success when it comes to preventing crime in the future. Through the experiment, there was the use of the 123 children where follow up was done when the children were at the age of 3 through to when they were eleven. The same individuals were checked when they attained age14, 15, 19, 27, and 40.
The aim was to ensure children in the experiment benefitted in terms of intellectual development as well as subsequent school achievement in young children. The experiment took place in such a way that there was the provision of a daily preschool program which was followed up with a home visit from the teachers. The big aim was to encourage children to take part and learn the art of effective decision as well as working effectively with others in the society. The aim of the project was also to instill self-discipline in the children as well as reasoning, self-expression accepting people differences as well as having and acquiring an inquiring spirit.
Though during the time of the experiment the cognitive gains in the children were not maintained, the participants in the program showed better behavior as well as school achievement as opposed to the children who were in the control groups. By the time the children were graduating in high school, there was the evidence that they were most likely to do so as opposed to those from the control groups. When the follow up was conducted the individuals who had taken part in the experiment were 27 years and when they were 40 years old, there was a difference in that the children now adults had a higher income and were shown more likely be home owners at the age of 40. At the age of 40 more of the males in the program were in employment as opposed to those who were in the control group.
The ratio stood at 70% vs. 50%. The success in the experiment in showing how early developmental crime control can take effect lay in the statistics. When the impact of the preschool program was evaluated on later offending, the experiment revealed that at age 15, the children in the program had lower rates in offending. By the time the children turned 19, they were shown to have been less likely to have been arrested as opposed to those who did not take part in the experiment. By the time they reached age 27, there was twice the number of arrests from those in the control group as opposed to those who were in the preschool program. By age 40, the children in the group that took part in the program had less lifetime arrest than those who did not take part in the program. The ratio stood at 36%vs 55% of those who had been arrested 5 or more times (Welsh & Farrington, 2005).
This experimented showed that given a chance, early forms of control were able to achieve success when it came to crime prevention in the future. Such success in identifying programs most likely to work in the prevention of crime in the future, especially in young adults was to be commended for offering the best solution in the market using and evaluating the effect of the biosocial criminology approach in preventing future crime. The experiment had ensured that there was the taking into consideration the effect of the environment in development of the crime in adults. There was the appreciation of the fact that future prevention in crime depended on working on the environments the children grew up in.
Evidence to prove that indeed early development crime prevention policy can be utilized in criminology can also be obtained from another study this one carried out in New York. In the evaluation carried out by Olds et al. in 1998, pregnant women in second trimester were enrolled. For this group, it contained females who were at risk of getting babies with developmental behaviors. The group included females who were teenage mothers, from poor backgrounds and those who were not married. For children born of this group of females, there was a tendency to be affected by such circumstances leading to future implications such as engaging in crime. The participants were enrolled to a nurse-described as from a similar family. This represents the members of his family partnership which took two years. The mental health complications. The condition always affects women in the study were assigned to either a control group or a treatment group. Nurses would visit the participants and teach them childcare techniques. The techniques would enhance the children physical development.
For the children born of mothers who had been assigned to treatment groups, they fared better than their counterparts from the control group. There were few chances of child neglect, the ratio being 4% Vs 19%. Fifteen years later, a follow up was done on the families. For the children who mothers had been enrolled in the treatment group, they had significantly few arrests compared to their colleagues from the control group (Olds et al., 2003). The results were attributed to good development in the children. This was as a result of improved environments. For the role in their general health. For instance, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and childbirth only affect women in the study, those in the treatment group showed why this was the case with the statistics. For these women, aspects such as child abuse and neglect had been low as compared to their counterparts from the control group. The ratio stood at 29% Vs 54% (Olds et al., 2003).Child neglect and abuse were environmental factors linked to antisocial behavior, including crime in children who came from such homesteads. Like the Perry Preschool project, the experiment by Olds et al. showed that indeed, success could be achieved through early development crime prevention program in criminology.
Ways the home visitation program Policy can be implemented
There are the various ways in which the policy of home visitation programs can be implemented. One of them involves engaging with home visitation programs. This program helps to improve the skills which base the foundation of the environment a child grows up in. This takes place where the use of better parenting skills ensures children grow up in the right environment which will not affect their development. Through the use of home visits, there is the appreciation of the fact that this form of prevention allows children to acquire the right form of cognitive skills (Beaver, 2009). These qualities have an effect in the later development of the child into adulthood as they turn into people expected to be responsible on their own.
The use of home visitations does not necessarily have to be confined to the children who are born. For the mothers, it is upon themselves when they are pregnant to make sure that they are in the right frame of mind. The bond between a mother and a child is improved when home visitations take place. The same has an effect in the child where for the two parties, they are able to benefit. Mothers are taught about various issues such as the effects of smoking which will have a negative implication in their children (Welsh & Farrington, 2012).
When such mothers are assigned to their various treatment groups, they are able to be taught how to care for newborn when they come. This means that for mothers, they are in a position to help their children by molding them into responsible adults.
Another way through which the program can be rolled out is through the use of school based programs. Through the same, this is the best way to intervene in children when they are at their formative years in terms of having them avoid developing antisocial behavior which leads to crime in later years. The school environment is the best setting where the children spend most of their time in their formative years. The school based program is able to prevent the hostile environment such as a family background from interfering with child development (Lab, 2013).
The molding of such factors as personality traits as well as the infusion of elements such as intelligence in children through school goes a long way in making sure that the program benefits the children in the future. Through school based programs, the use of such programs as the infusion of skills in controlling one’s responses and how to act in provocations assist the children. In most times, the environment around children will see to it that they become aggressive and in turn end up in crime. However, the same will be avoided through using the school based program where through teaching children such skills as problem solving and avoiding aggression, children even those in preschool will have a chance to have and possess social competence (Rocque et al., 2012).
Good social skills and competence will help the children in making the appropriate decisions which in turn will see them avoid a future in crime. School based programs have the mandate and the means to impact on the cognitive development of a child in terms of molding how the given child interacts with the environment.
Disadvantages and Advantages of Policy
There are benefits or advantages which come with the use of early development crime prevention policy. Over the years, various governments as well as communities have discovered the fact that there is a need to act early enough in the attempt to minimize effects which are associated with crime especially, in young people. One of the advantages especially to the government is the fact that implementation of such a policy will see to it that the various governments save revenue. Every year, crime prevention takes a huge amount of resources in terms of money (Lab, 2013).
The upkeep of those who have been accused of the various crimes as well as the running of the overall justice system in many countries costs billions of dollars of dollars. Though it is impossible to prevent wholly the occurrence of crime, the prevention of the same through the use of early prevention will go a long way into making sure most of the criminal related activities are avoided when the children become adults. On top of saving revenue for various governments, money used to facilitate crime related organs such as jails can be put to good use in other sectors in this case such programs as education children or health care (Raine, 2013). Lack of crime will indeed be beneficial to the government as it free up manpower and resources which can be directed to other areas of need such as social, mental and human services.
For the community, the implementation of early development crime prevention will offer advantages in terms the society being rid of vices. Lack of crimes will make sure that the society progresses as a whole. No crime will mean productive in terms of the society being able to carry out daily activities without interruption. The prevention measure in this case one involving the enrollment of the young generation into programs which make them become better individuals in the society will go a long way in ensuring that the future of the society is guaranteed. Such a society where there are low levels of crime with groups such as the youth being molded in the right manner will be bound to succeed in various fronts such as economically and socially (Welsh & Farrington, 2005).
As much as launching such programs as early developmental crime prevention may be applauded by the society and such parties like the government, the same comes with disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is that such a program may require the use of a huge number of personnel in order to make sure that such a program succeeds. The huge number of resources in terms of personnel for example, those in the health sector who will carry out home visitation programs may not be available. Such personnel such as the teachers needed to make sure that school based programs are well coordinated may fail to fulfill the mandate in terms of offering the right number of teachers needed. Thus the disadvantage is the fact that such a program may require the various stakeholders to struggle to make sure that such a project takes off and takes root in the society (Welsh & Farrington, 2005).
Another disadvantage that comes with the program is that it needs to be closely supervised. Children being vulnerable groups will mean that engaging them in such activities as programs to ensure that they turn out well may be a taxing activity due to the devotion needed. This being the case, many of the stakeholders may drop such a program. Dropping of such a program may be very frustrating to the various groups involved in this case the managers of the various programs (Raine, 2013).
Ways the Policy Can Be Assessed
The success as well as the impact of the policy can be assessed using various methods and means. The first one is counterfactual analysis, which is a statistical method that will quantify whether the policy has produced the desired results. For this case, this method will be used to check whether the observed reduction in crime has been as a result of the implementation and the use of the early development crime prevention method. With this method, the observed differences will be able to shed light on the success of the policy (Raine, 2013). The other method which will be used together with the counterfactual analysis method is SWOT analysis. This is a method which will be used to measure the strengths of the policy, weaknesses, the present opportunities and threats to the program. By using SWOT analysis, there will be the chance to evaluate how the policy will change over a given period of time.
The assessment will be done in such a way that there will be the convention of various groups of stakeholders such as teachers, those in the government and groups such as those in healthcare centers to run the home visitation programs to mothers (Wright & Boisvert, 2009). Such groups will be convened after which they will be categorized into a SWOT matrix. Through the use of the SWOT method, there will be the evaluation the various factors which may lead to failure of the program with the same being transformed into constructive learning processes.
Section 3 – Conclusion
The use of the biosocial criminology approach has led to the addition of knowledge in the field of criminology. Through the analysis of more factors which affect crime such as non-shared environment as well as the environment in general, the approach offers the chance to have a realistic policy in criminology. Through the use of early developmental crime prevention approach, success will be achieved in tackling crime. The execution of the program through avenues such as home visits and school based programs will ensure that the future of crime is prevented as the various individuals will be molded into responsible adults in their formative stages.
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