Essay Writing - Biological Causes of Crime
Natalie was growing concerned about her daughter
Brandi’s school performance. Her grades had dropped
since the beginning of the school year, and she
seemed reluctant to go to school. On some days, she
complained of vague symptoms, such as stomachache
or headache. On other days, she simply did not get out
of bed. Natalie took her to the doctor, but there was
no definitive diagnosis. She questioned Brandi about
any problems at school, but Brandi was uncommonly
quiet. Natalie then looked at Brandi’s Facebook page
and saw a series of comments from Brandi’s friends
about a school bully. When Natalie confronted Brandi,
the child broke down crying and told the whole story.
Another girl, who was two years ahead of her in
school, was bullying her. She would tease Brandi in
school, leave nasty messages on her Facebook page,
and even threatened her on several occasions.
Natalie was furious and immediately arranged a
meeting with the teacher and school principal. The
school officials attempted to address the problem by
speaking to the girl and her parents. The parents
placed their daughter in treatment; she was diagnosed
with a behavior disorder and put on medication, which
seemed to work. Both the girl’s parents and the school
officials explained to Natalie that the girl had an
underlying medical condition that caused her to
become angry and lack impulse control. The school
officials were reluctant to suspend the girl because it
was “not her fault” but rather a “biological factor”
causing the behavior.
Natalie was still upset. She did not understand why her
own daughter should suffer. She had a nagging
suspicion that the bully’s parents were using the
biological cause as an excuse for their daughter’s bad
Research the biological causes of crime and the eugenics movement using the textbook, the
online library resources, and the Internet.
Based on the scenario, and drawing on your readings and research, respond to the following:
Why do you think some people are troubled by the idea that crime has a biological cause?
Support your response using an article from the popular media presenting the biological
argument for criminal behavior.
In what way may views of biological causes of crime be related to the eugenics
movement? Give reasons using a scholarly, peer-reviewed article either for or against the
Write your initial response in 4–6 paragraphs. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.
Biological Causes of Crime
It is difficult to link crime with biology and therefore people are troubled by the idea that
crime has a biological cause. The other reason is that people suffering from abnormalities or
mental infirmities predominantly display criminal conduct (Scully, n.d.). Studies have been done
related to this topic and it has been observed that biology does play a role in the criminal
behavior. Biological and psychological theories have tried to explain criminal behavior.
In an article in The New York Times, Patricia Cohen explains how the biological theory
was rejected and ignored by criminologists saying that it could stereotype and is a form of
racism. Criminologists wanted to concentrate on social causes, such as, poverty, addictions,
guns, etc. With the latest studies on human genomes, scientists and criminologists are again
trying to explore this field and understand how genes can be responsible for criminal behavior.
Around 100 studies have positively shown that genes have a correlation with crimes, but there is
a possibility that some genes remain silent because of the environment while some become
dominant and become the cause of violent outburst again due to environment (Cohen, 2011).
The Eugenics Movement was initiated to improve the health and intelligence of humanity
through selective breeding, and this was followed by Hitler’s genocidal policy of creating an
“Aryan Race”. The biological perspective was not accepted by the criminologists because it was
against the philosophy of liberalism and social change. The language used by biological
researchers was too technical and therefore criminologists preferred to ignore the connection
between biology and crime (Conklin, 2010).