Genetic influences should be a key consideration in the advancement of criminology

Throughout this course, you have studied numerous theories that attempt to explain criminal behavior. Because criminology is closely connected to sociology, explanations of criminal behavior have been predominantly sociological. Some criminological theorists who offer biological and psychological explanations for criminal behavior believe that their theories, for a variety of reasons, have not been as broadly accepted or considered. Some newer criminologists, like Brian Boutwell, even make the argument that criminology will cease to be relevant, because other fields that are more welcoming to biological theories and, more specifically, genetic influences, will surpass criminology and offer better ways to reduce crime. They argue that genetic influences should be a key consideration in criminology going forward.

Take a position. Should genetic influences be a key consideration in the advancement of criminology?

First, title your post either “Genetic influences should be a key consideration in the advancement of criminology” or “Genetic influences should not be a key consideration in the advancement of criminology.”

Then, make your case. Provide your rationale supported by research to defend your position. You may want to take into consideration some of the following as you make your case:

Why might biological and psychological theories be dismissed or not considered as relevant by criminologists and criminal justice professionals?
What are some of the concerns about genetics research?
How does including genetic influences make other criminological theories stronger?
How might the consideration of genetic influences in the application of theory help criminal justice professionals reduce or prevent crime?

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Sample Answer

Genetic influences should be a key consideration in the advancement of criminology

In the realm of criminology, there has been a longstanding debate regarding the extent to which genetic influences should be incorporated into explanations of criminal behavior. While sociological theories have traditionally dominated the field, it is becoming increasingly evident that biological and genetic factors play a crucial role in shaping human behavior, including criminal tendencies.

One of the primary reasons why biological and psychological theories have been dismissed or overlooked by criminologists and criminal justice professionals is the historical emphasis on environmental and social factors in understanding criminal behavior. Sociological theories, such as strain theory or social learning theory, have provided valuable insights into the impact of societal structures and interactions on criminal conduct. However, by solely focusing on external influences, these theories may overlook the intricate interplay between genetics and behavior.

Concerns about genetics research often revolve around fears of determinism and stigmatization. Critics argue that emphasizing genetic influences on criminal behavior could lead to fatalistic attitudes that individuals are predestined to commit crimes based on their genetic makeup. Moreover, there is a risk of stigmatizing certain groups based on genetic predispositions, which raises ethical concerns.

Nevertheless, incorporating genetic influences into criminological theories can strengthen our understanding of criminal behavior. By acknowledging that genes can interact with environmental factors to shape behavior, researchers can develop more comprehensive explanations for why individuals engage in criminal activities. For instance, studies have shown that certain genetic variations, such as those related to impulsivity or aggression, may increase the likelihood of criminal behavior when combined with specific environmental triggers.

By considering genetic influences in the application of criminological theory, criminal justice professionals can enhance their efforts to reduce and prevent crime. For example, by identifying individuals with genetic predispositions towards violence or impulsivity early on, interventions such as targeted therapy or counseling can be implemented to address these risk factors proactively. This personalized approach can contribute to more effective crime prevention strategies and rehabilitation programs.

In conclusion, while sociological theories have been instrumental in shaping our understanding of criminal behavior, it is essential to recognize the significance of genetic influences in advancing criminology. By integrating biological and psychological perspectives into existing theories, we can develop more nuanced explanations of criminal conduct and devise more tailored interventions to address underlying causes. Embracing genetic influences in criminology represents a step towards a more holistic and effective approach to crime prevention and reduction.


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