Criminology V: Assessment Essay

1) What implications do psychological theories of criminal behavior have for public policy? How have these implications been reflected in actual policy, if at all? It seems to me that the psychological theories of criminal behavior reveal that criminality in essence, cannot be totally eradicated. I believe that is a basic admission to the understanding of criminal behavior.

Public policy relies on the outputs of these studies as evidenced by the National Institute for Mental Health’s especially the recommendations of the Surgeon General’s findings having made their way into reports submitted by governors and congressmen as to justify their strides to forge laws that provide proper and clear boundaries wherein the penalties and/or punishments for the law breakers are taken cared of (Satcher, 2001). The rehabilitation and habilitation concepts with which these public and private agencies operate were the results of these studies incorporated in the criminal and justice system (Anglin and Speckart, 1984).

The US government had made great strides in the understanding and prediction of crimes and propensity for violence. The decades 80s and 90s were turbulent with seemingly unpreventable rise of criminality and/or violence among the youth specifically, and the prevailing mood was apathy concerning possible solutions to the problem. Many grabbed whatever means and methods that might help, oftentimes without a studied focus on the efficacy, ramifications or possible consequences of actions and complications.

It was very fortunate that the succeeding years, researches produced a systematic manner of intervention and reduction programs and had, to a large extent, had proven effective (Satcher, 2001). I believe that though there were notoriously heinous crimes still being committed these days, which for many show or evidenced ineffective curbing of criminal behavior, nevertheless, I believe that these theories actually made their way into the public policies.

2) How do psychological theories of criminal behavior differ from biological theories? The human individual is acceptably a person equipped with faculties that are intricately intertwined in his mental and/or psychological functioning; that is an accepted fact. In my opinion, biological theories are best explanations for these lines of thoughts. However, they convince us that chemical substances in the brain can only explain behavior when the problem is organic in origin.

It goes to show that when a person has gone through physical trauma to the head for instance, or when he had been exposed to a “toxic” environment not only in terms of ingestion of these physical pollutants enough to alter his brain chemistry, or when the stressors are constant and burdensome that the human personality cannot contain it anymore, all these might lead to cognitive deficits and resulting to dangerous behavior. Psychological perspectives offer a different point of view, such as motivation (primarily), values, instincts and its role, choice and free will, among others.

These concepts are all human concepts and aspects of personality and cognition, and distinct or unique to being human. Of course, it cannot be denied that the influence of environment (nurture) is very powerful indeed even we know that ours is the responsibility with how we conduct our lives and in this tradition, most of the dangerous minds get their influence and the justification from. 3) How do the psychological and biological theories influence social policy making? Is this right? What would you do differently?

Remember to cite your material according to APA formatting rules. No matter how we look at these things, it cannot be denied that then and now and in the years to come, these theories pre-eminently make their way to state policies. Despite their contradictions at some points, the outputs relevant to these theoretical frameworks had made impact in terms of evidence-based researches and action researches in the realm of politics, social and community work, therapeutic communities and the society at large.

I simply cannot miss the notion that they are a force to reckon with. In fact, in schools, the imposition on some institutions to require parents to being their child diagnosed with either ADHD or conduct disorder to a psychologist and especially to a psychiatrist is stark reality (Pies, 2005). There are even questions as to its morality or ethical implications especially when to some, ADHD is still to be thoroughly established yet. In this case, I would not impose such measures as the ADHD issue means that children are to ingest dangerous substances that can result to an even graver consequence than the one that authorities are trying to prevent (Pies, 2005).


  • Anglin, D. , & Speckart, A. (1984). Narcotics use and crime: A confirmatory analysis. Unpublished report. University of California at Los Angeles, Department of Psychology, cited in Intervening with substance-abusing offenders: a framework for action.
  • National Institute of Corrections. The Report of the National Task Force on Correctional Substance Abuse Strategies
  • Pies, Ronald (2005). Hyperactivity: Medical Reality or Convenient Excuse?. Accessed July 7, 2009 at http://www. medicinenet. com/script/main/art. asp? articlekey=50774
  • Satcher, David (2001). Assistant Secretary for Health and U. S. Surgeon General. January. Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General. Accessed July 7, 2009 http://www. surgeongeneral. gov/library/youthviolence/chapter2/sec3. html#refs