Crime and Criminals
The term Crime and Criminal are legal terms and therefore the definition of these terms are society specific, whatever may be considered as crime in one society may be a minor offence in the other. Moreover, what is considered as crime in one epoch may in be treated as disease in a more enlightened epoch. Nevertheless, crime in general is a form of maladjustment of great social concern which legally can be considered as an act in violation of the law and criminal is a person who does an act in violation of law. It must here be mentioned that any person who violates the law of the land is not considered a criminal till the charges against him are proved in the court of law. Both in India and the world over there is a sizeable percentage of individuals who commit offences but whose offences are never proved. Technically they are not criminals.
In India any person of 21 years and above who violates the provisions of IPC (Indian Penal Code) or Cr.Pc. (Code of Criminal Procedures) is a criminal.
Categories of Criminal Behaviour –
In our society i.e. Modern Society the criminal behavior is classified into two major categories –
- Felonies – which are the serious crimes such as murder, robberies etc. For which there are severe penalties.
- Misdemeanors – these are minor offences such as disorderly conduct, vagrancy.
It has been seen that Criminal Behaviour has roots in Juvenile Delinquency but not all juvenile delinquents become criminals and not all criminals have prior history of delinquency.
Factors Underlying the Crimes –
- Physiological Factors
- Environmental Factors
- Physiological Factors –
A number of early investigations have attributed criminal behavior to heredity and chromosome, prominent among them was Lambroso eal who advocated the view that criminal was a born type, with a constitutional features such as law retreating forehead, acuteness of vision, sparse beard, strongly arched brows etc.
Subsequent studies by Gorning and others have not supported this theory instead propagated the view point that criminals are made. Though the concept of Lombroso is dead, recent studies by Jarvik and others have suggested the role of heredity in criminal behaviour. They have found that presence of extra Y Chromosomes predisposes an individual for crime behaviour. Some investigations have suggested that extra Y Chromosomes stimulates the excessive production of testosterone – the male hormone which is linked to aggression. But the question is not all XYY males are aggressive. To resolve this paradox Ginsburg has suggested that the aggressiveness of XYY male depends upon whether the extra chromosome has been inherited from aggressive father or mother mild one.
- Environmental Factors –
Situational Factors play a dominating role in the casual of crime. Most studies today support the view that criminals are born not made.
Family Conditions –
These includes –
Broken Homes –
Many criminals come from the home torn by conflict, resulting in separation and divorce. Child in these homes doesn’t get adequate attention.
- Size of the Family –
The greater the size the lesser the attention towards child, greater chances of becoming criminal.
2. Unsatisfactory Parent – Child Relationship –
Hostile and unemotional relationship with children makes children hostile not only to parents, but also to the society in general and the child starts settling his scores with other people by violent means. If these habits get reinforcement from some vested interest the innocent child becomes hardened criminals.
3. Demoralised Homes –
The presence of demoralizing conditions in home such as alcoholism, prostitution, criminality etc. has a negative impact on the child’s behavior and it contributes in making child a criminal.
4. Lack of Supervision and Control over Children –
The lack of parental supervision may be in the form of neglect or ignorance of parents, temperament or personality of parent absence of home due to their employment etc. but whatever be the reason the lack of control increases the chances of falling the child into wrong hands and becoming criminal. For example, Mr. Burt in a study showed the chances of delinquent is 4 or 5 times greater than non delinquents.
5. Economic Conditions –
Unemployment, economic security, poor living conditions, bad housing coupled with illiteracy can also help in fostering the criminal tendencies in the person. The wide gap between rich and the poor can also motivate the desire in the poor to become rich by illegal means.
Companionship Factors –
If the child has the companions who are the delinquents, then it is more likely that he will commit crime. It has been observed that sometimes the boys specially those roaming in the street start something as a game and ends as a criminal activity. It must here be noticed that companionship may not help in the causation of the crime at first instance, but it does assist maturation of delinquent career in its formative stage which in turn may lead to crime. The contacts in custody are also considered to be important factor in the connection of crime. Most custodial contacts and friendship found in penal institutions are important factor in maturation of career of criminals.
Community Condition –
The weakening of institutional or primary group influence over the life of and the conduct of the individual an important role in contributing to the aggression aggravating social problems like crime. Agencies of moral risk like cheap dance halls, gambling parlors and pornographic films etc. are considered to be responsible for the demoralization of young children and promote criminal tendencies in the individual.
It makes the family discipline and morality different to maintain and it directs the children into unsupervised street play where they learn immoral acts.
Religious and other factors –
- Business Disasters
- Prolonged sickness in home
- Lure of the opportunity of lifetime, may also strengthen the impulses or lessen the power of inhibition and lead to irregular or reprehensive conduct.