What is the Relationship Between Personality and Criminal Justice?
The search for criminal personality has piqued the curiosities and interests of both academics and the general public (Caspi et al., 1994). There has often been an allusion to the relationship between personality and criminal behavior. After all, it is normal, regular people who commit crimes like child molestation, murder, or rape (Bartol & Bartol, 2010). For decades, criminologists have been heatedly arguing about the relevance of personality within the study of criminal justice, despite the fact the personality theories have become enduringly popular (Brown, 2006). This paper will begin by describing what personality is and personality developmental psychology. Next, this paper will explore and analyze the relationship between personality and criminal justice.
What is personality? Personality can be defined as the set of stable psychological characteristics or traits that define an individual as unique ("Personality"). Although personality can be explained in many ways, most explanations agree that by the end of early childhood ("Personality development in," 2011), an individual’s personality is solidly established. The broad dimension of personality comprises of particular aspects of personality traits that form super traits when combined. There are two general ways in which personality and crime, and ultimately criminal justice can be linked to each other. First is “personality-trait psychology” (Akers & Sellers, 2009: 74) according to which antisocial behavior may be linked to the particular trait or super traits within an individual’s personality. In criminological research, there are several structured models of personality theory that are used, such as Cloninger’s temperament and character model, the PEN model, etc.
“Personality development psychology” is the second way in which personality can be linked to criminal behavior and criminal justice. As mentioned, an individual’s personality is what makes them unique, but how does personality develop? An individual’s personality starts developing in their childhood ("Personality development in," 2011). According to Psychologists, there are several factors that contribute to the development of personalities, and when these factors are negative, they lead to the development of crimnogenic personalities. These factors include childhood abuse, inconsistent parenting, early trauma, socialization patterns, etc. The personality that an individual ultimately develops can lead them to commit a criminal act, and the personality they develop depends on their life experiences. An example, or rather a sign that an individual might be developing a crimnogenic personality is bullying (Samenow, 2011). The connection between personality traits and crime has long been intriguing criminologists and psychologists. The bottom line is that it is the personality of an individual that makes them more prone to commit a criminal act than others.
However, what is the connection between personality and criminal justice? There are perhaps two aspects that link personality to criminal justice. Firstly, just as an individual’s personality makes them more likely to commit a crime, an individual’s personality can also make them more capable at succeeding in a criminal justice career. For instance, anyone with an analytical, detail oriented, highly organized, and inquisitive personality would have a better chance in a criminal justice career than others. Secondly, studying and understanding personality can help understand criminogenic personality and factors that lead to the development of such personalities. Based on the facts mentioned and the theories discussed, the connection between personality and crime cannot be denied, and since is the very system of practices that deals with crimes, so it has got a lot to with personality.
Brown, S. (2006). The criminology of hybrids: Rethinking crime and law in technosocial networks. Theoretical criminology. (2 ed., Vol. 10, pp. 223-244). Sunderland: University of Sunderland. Retrieved from http://tcr.sagepub.com/content/10/2/223.abstract
Caspi, A., Krueger, R. F., Loeber, M. S., Moffitt, T. E., Schmutte, P. S., & Silva, P. A. (1994). Are some people crime-prone? replications of the personality-crime relationship across countries, genders, races, and methods. Criminology, 32(2), 163-196. Retrieved from http://www.wpic.pitt.edu/research/famhist/PDF_Articles/Blackwell/PER%202.pdf
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Samenow, S. E. (2011, Aug 16). Bullying: A sign of a developing criminal personality. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-the-criminal-mind/201108/bullying-sign-developing-criminal-personality