We regard they have for themselves” (Steele,

We decide whether an
action is considered a crime through our morality, which is often based on
religious and cultural traditions. People before completing an action, as
discussed in the social learning theory, have the choice to act in a good or
evil way. (Do further research into Mitchell Johnson). The law system helps us
decide whether peoples actions are of a criminal or antisocial behaviour. The
supposed reason of most crimes are selfishness and greed as “criminals fail to
treat others with the same regard they have for themselves” (Steele, 1999).


Another explanation for
criminal behaviour is the body and mind. In 1808, a German doctor Franz Joseph
Gall wrote in the “Functions of the Brain”, claiming that peoples characters
were determined by the shaping of humans skulls. This was the study of
phrenology. Cesare Lombroso believed that people are born criminals as our
character is programmed through our DNA, however parental influence has a
massive impact on our future actions. This is because our parents are our role
models, meaning we mimic their behaviour and a lack of reciprocity from a
care-giver such as mothers, can lead to problems in later life, such as the
development of criminal or antisocial behaviour. A quote I found interesting in
this chapter, which reflects this point was that “many individuals who have
been treated cruelly as children go on to treat children cruelly themselves”
(Steele, 1999). Some crimes committed are “crimes of passion”, they usually
occur between conflicted lovers and the urge of rage leads to murder or abuse.

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Many mental illnesses
lead to difficulty with fitting into a society, leading people to not
understand the consequences of their actions or not being able to interact
‘normally’. For example someone suffering with Schizophrenia can experience
symptoms of hearing voices. The voices could be urging them to commit a
crime/murder and the person gives in due to fear or the mentality that they are
without choice in the situation. Medication used to treat these illnesses can
lead to worsening of the urge to commit a crime as they can create confusion
and can remove the patients ability to emphasise or sympathise.


There can also be social factors, urging people
to commit a crime. For example a “starving child is more likely to steal food”
(Steele, 1999), as it is necessary for them to survive. This was discussed by
the social reformers and writers of the 19th century. The pressure created by
society to comply to fashion can be too harsh for some people and as people feel
the urge to purchase the most popular items of clothing etc, they may steal due
to it being the only way to attain the objects of their desire. If people feel
hopeless/powerless to change things due to their lack of connection with
society, it may serve as an encouragement to partake in more criminal activity.