Biological Theories Of Crime Essay

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Biological theories provide many explanations for the causes of crime. Cesare Lombroso was regarded by many as the first proponent of the biological theory of crime. Lombroso worked as a prison physician, conducting numerous post mortems on criminals who had died. Lombroso theorised

that criminals could be distinguished from non criminals by the presence of physical abnormalities that represented a reversion to a primitive or subhuman type of person. (Hagan.1987.P17)

During one post mortem on the criminal Vilella, Lombroso discovered a depression in the back part of his skull. Lombroso named this the “median occipital fossa.” (Lombroso. ibid., p.184). This Lombroso described as a “revelation”.

The results of   Lombroso’s studies on criminals and the results of his post mortems led him to believe “that the criminal was, in effect, a human subspecies.” (Hagan. 1987., P.20).

In more modern times, however, criminologists no longer believe that the only cause for crime is the abnormality of a persons appearance or growth defect. Modern theorists now believe that it is a combination of personal traits and environmental factors. This theory is known as the “Biosocial Theory”.

There are many factors that biosocial theorists believe cause people to commit crime. These include biochemical factors, brain function, genetics and evolutionary factors.

Biochemical Factors
Biocriminologists believe that minimum levels of chemicals and minerals are required for the brain to function normally. If these chemicals or minerals are deficient then the sufferer is more likely to display physical, mental or behavioural problems. Examples of mineral or chemical imbalance that affect behaviour are: diabetes, hormonal imbalance and environmental poisoning e.g. lead contaminants in the blood

Brain Functions
Proponents of neurological studies believe that abnormalities with the growth and well being of the brain have an impact of the criminality of an individual. This...

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