The biological study of criminal behavior is known as bio criminology. The theories suggest that a person deviate from the social norms and moral values due to his/her biological makeup. The biological interpretation of crime originated from the Italian school of criminology. It was advanced in the nineteenth century. A medical criminologist called Cesare Lombroso did a research and proved that crime comes from biological traits that are in some human beings. The theories originated in the year 1810 (Ferrell & Hayward, 2011).The biological theories of crime include:
Lombroso’s Theory-This was advanced by an Italian criminologist in 1880s. He suggested that an individual’s bodily makeup indicate whether or not he/she is a born criminal. Criminals are different in physical makeup. A criminal can be identified using some basic physical appearance such as long arms, large lips, excessive wrinkles on the skin, excessive cheekbones, a twisted nose, and symmetry of the head and face (Curran & Renzetti, 2004).
Sheldon’s Theory of Body Types- This theory was advanced by American psychologist in the mid-1990s. The psychologist was known as William Sheldon. He comes up with different human bodies such as mesomorphs, ectomorphs and endomorphs (Wright& Miller, 2005).
Y chromosome Theory- The theory suggests that criminals have an extra/additional Y chromosome. Thus giving the criminal chromosome make of XYY that produces a strong compulsion in them to commit crimes. So people having XYY chromosomes are called super male. The study shows that the proportion of XYY people in the prison population is larger than the general population of normal prisoners (Curran & Renzetti, 2004).
The use of biological theory of crime in the criminal justice system focuses on approaches in minimizing or preventing the onset of criminal behaviors. The biological perspectives of crime can improve understanding of control techniques used in the criminal justice system such as corrections, dehumanization, and prisonization. Through the theories, effective programs to reduce anti-social behaviors like violence can be developed. The theories focus on the aspect of a person and his/her genetic alteration. The biological theories explain the likelihood that a person will become a criminal. Prediction of deviant behaviors of a criminal in criminal justice is based on his/her biological inefficiency (Wright & Miller, 2005).
The Psychological theories of crime explain the behavior of a criminal based on an individual’s character. The theories were developed in 1879. The founder of the psychological theories of crime was Wilhelm Wundt. He was a German psychologist. His research included decision making process and cognitive thinking that explains why most people choose to commit a crime in any particular situation. A psychology is based on the scientific study of human characters and behaviors. The psychological theories explain the motive and reasons of crime, which makes one to participate in a criminal action. The theories are based behavior prediction and behavior observation. Deviant behavior is explained by the psychological trauma (Ferrell & Hayward, 2011).
The psychological theories of crime include:
Personality theories of delinquency- These were developed in the year 1856-1939 by Sigmund Freud. He stated that the personality of a human being has three main psychic structures namely ego, id and super ego. The first example Id is a personality that a person pursues his/her instant needs without analyzing or thinking about it. The person ends up committing a crime. The second personality is Ego. In this instance, one commits a crime as a result of socialization and education from other people (Ferrell& Hayward, 2011).
Instinctive theories of delinquency-There are two main instinct in this theory; Thanatos and Eros. The first instant describes the desire to die while the second one describes the desire to live. The tow case can result into immoral behaviors and antisocial behaviors like suicide and violence. The theory suggests that a person be balanced between Thanatos and Eros.
Eysenck's theory of crime-This entails Extroversion and introversion. The theory suggests that the tendency of a person to commit a crime be under the control of conscience. Eysenck the founder of the theory suggest that criminality be a normal and natural choice in which people reduce their pain or enhance pleasure (Marsh & Melville, 2006).
There are other psychological theories of crime that deals with psychopathy, mental disorders, influence of media on the crime and induced mental incapacity such as drug addiction and alcoholism. The personality test in the present day can provide insight about an individual’s predisposition towards delinquency through the study of the potential conflict and ant-social behavior that exist in his/her personality. The psychological theories deviance employ biology of the brain such as psychiatric diagnoses, levels of neurotransmitters and brain structure to explain deviance (Curran& Renzetti, 2004).
In the criminal justice system, psychological theories of crime find use during a court process and punishment. Based on the behavior of a criminal, different punishment and reinforcement can be employed to different criminals. The theories can be used to explain why a person commits a crime. Examination of each theory can explain several reasons for the crime occurrence and identify factors that make one become a criminal. Understanding of one’s behavior can provide an explanation for his/her criminal behaviors (Marsh& Melville, 2006).
Curran, D. J., & Renzetti, C. M. (2004). Theories of crime. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Ferrell, J., & Hayward, K. J. (2011). Cultural criminology: Theories of crime. Surrey, England; Burlington, VT: Ash gate Pub.
Marsh, I., & Melville, G. (2006). Theories of crime. London: Routledge.
Wright, R. A., & Miller, J. M. (2005). Encyclopedia of criminology. New York: Routledge.