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Is Criminal Behavior Biologically Determined

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Is Criminal Behavior Biologically Determined

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  • September 2007
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Is Criminal Behavior Biologically Determined
Jessica Bean

This is a statement that researches have long sought the answer for, it all boils down to nature versus nurture. Is there a clear answer? I can honestly say now that I do not believe so, after evaluating both sides I see that nature and nurture seem to play an almost even role. Therefore, I do no think it is fair to determine this question with a yes or no answer, instead I hope to present the facts and allow others to make a judgment based on those. When beginning my research I had the advantage of working with top psychiatrists in my area to try and determine the cause of criminal behavior, and I realized very quickly that there are two very convincing opposing sides and no clear evidence that either is correct.

I would like to start with the argument that criminal behavior is not biologically determined. To be biologically determined you could say that this person had a mental illness that drove them to commit these felonious crimes. Many people do not even believe in psychiatric illness none the less that it can drive behavior. I work on 552 evaluations, which are essentially people who plead not guilty due to reasons of insanity and there is a team of us that meet and evaluate the legitimacy of those statements. We have a team of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and medical doctors with no affiliation to the psychiatric field. One of those medical doctors constantly says to us that "a brain can be diseased but a mind can not, because the mind is not a physical organ". He believes that blaming mental, emotional, and behavioral problems on mental illness allows a person to reject free will and personal responsibility for their actions. To him the words psychological and biological are not synonymous, so therefore you can't be driven to do a crime on a mental basis.

There are also those that say criminals are made from bad upbringing, that nurture plays a key role in the development of...

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