Psychological criminology

Psychological criminology and ecological criminology developed only during the early twentieth centuries. Early psychological criminology suggested that there is an IQ difference between the criminals and the non-criminals. Many psycho criminologists had attributed crimes to personality disorders, psychopaths, sociopaths, and antisocial personalities. Emotional disorders are generally considered as cause for crime, which are mostly rooted in childhood experiences where the criminal attempts a suppressed wish or desire.

Ecological criminology is the first sociological criminology, which sought to link crime with environment, suggesting a connection between crime and the disorganized eco-areas where people live. Few criminologists believe that certain offenders are born into environments like high poverty, discriminated minority groups that are likely to induce criminal behavior than most other environments. The strain theory is also known as anomie theory, sees crime as an obvious outcome of hopelessness and loss of belief, leading to breakdown of rules of conduct.

The theory suggests that with dreams of opportunity, freedom and prosperity, people dream big and it becomes a powerful cultural and psychological motivation. But when the opportunities are less and when the dreams are not realized for the people, they take to crimes to realize their dreams, while others drop out as deviant individuals like drug abusers, drunks etc. This theory is based on the French sociology invented by the father of modern sociology, Emile Durkheim (1858-1917).

The learning theories are based on the 1947 Edwin Sutherland’s theory of differential association, and are based on imitation and modeling. Skinner and Fream claim that the social learning theory is a classic example of computer crime. They believe that social learning theory is organized around four major concepts namely differential association, differential reinforcement/punishment, definitions, and imitation.

The individuals are exposed to and learn the factors favorable and unfavorable to criminal and legal behavior, they then balance the social nonsocial rewards and punishments associated with the behavior and take to imitation. Control theories mainly deal with an individual’s social relationship and its deviance. It analyzes a person’s relationship with his teachers, parents, preachers, coaches or police officers emphasizing that effective bonding with authority indicates bonding with society and keep people out of crime.

Control theories view crime as being due to insufficient attachment to others. The labeling theory was at its infancy during the 1960s and 1970s and focuses on criminals who carry out a minor crime or act, only to be engulfed by a massive government sponsored labeling or shunning reaction. The theory recommends that minor offences be sparred or rehabilitation procedures undertaken for these people to get re-attached to their communities.

It is interesting to note that the social control theory is more appropriate for initiation into delinquent behavior while the negative labeling aspect of the labeling theory causes delinquent behavior to be persistent. (Douglas A. Smith and Robert Brame, 1994). The conflict theory has roots in Marxist theories, which recognizes crime as a result of conflict between the different classes. This theory believes that society is based on conflict between opposing groups like rich against poor, management against labor, man against women etc.

, and that the laws of the society are formed more by conflict than by consensus. The laws are formed by the persons in power to control the people out of power. The ones that commit crimes are not fundamentally different from the rest of the population. The radical theories of criminology, also involving Marxist sees crime as an outcome of fundamental economic differences. The set up here allows things as if there is a huge number of billionaires and millionaires, while actually the majority live in poverty.

Here crime is seen as a class struggle with criminals taking the role or rebels without any idea. Left realism developed around the mid 1980s and focuses on criminal attacks within the working people. It suggests that victimization of the poor by their own race and kind could be reduced by a powerful police, but would not want the police to be invasive or intrusive. Peacekeeping criminology which came during the 1990s finds that the wars on crime can only make things worse. Formation of mutually dependent communities and spiritual uplift of the masses is suggested as a solution.

The feminist criminology can be rightly said to have matured in the 1990s, despite feminist ideas of revolt being in existence for decades. Here male domination or patriarchy is the main cause of crime, with feminists wanting more attention to their voice. The postmodern criminology shows how crime originates from a feeling of being disconnected and dehumanized, due to thoughts and conceptions that limit our understanding. Replacement of the current larger legal system into informal social controls or neighborhood tribunals is recommended.