Biology and Criminal Responsibility

My Genes Made Me Do It—Biological Theories of Criminal Behavior

THIS IS READING MATERIAL ONLY

In the late 1800s, criminologists began to explore biological causes of criminal behavior. One such criminologist, Cesare Lombroso, proposed a theory suggesting that criminal offenders have distinct facial features (e.g., asymmetrical features, protruding jaws, and receding foreheads and chins) compared to non-offenders. This theory was later disproven, but the premise that there is a biological component to criminal behavior has persisted. This week, you explore biological concepts and theories related to criminal behavior.

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Learning Objectives

Students will:

 

Evaluate the degree to which genetic and biological factors exempt criminal responsibility

Apply biological theories of criminal behavior

Analyze the interaction among and the cumulative effects of social, behavioral, cognitive, psychological, and biological factors on criminal behavior

 

We are now working in Week 4. When working on this week’s assignments please be sure to use your textbook to give explanations of how genetics and biology may account for criminal behavior in this week’s case study. You need to discuss the information in your textbook and how it related to this case study.

 

This Week’s Readings

 

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2017). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

 

· Chapter 3, “Origins of Criminal Behavior: Biological Factors” (pp. 59–82)

 

 

Discussion: Biology and Criminal Responsibility

Advancements in neuroscience have provided a better understanding of how the brain works and how specific genes influence behavior. For example, we now know that the part of the brain responsible for judgment and decision making, called the prefrontal cortex, is not fully developed in teenagers. This may explain why some teenagers pursue risk without fear and struggle to make sound decisions. Neuroscientists have also identified specific genes that may be linked to criminal behavior. Criminal defense lawyers have attempted to capitalize

Biology and Criminal Responsibility

Biology and Criminal Responsibility

on these advancements, arguing that clients who are biologically or genetically predisposed to crime should be less criminally responsible and receive lighter sentences than those who are not predisposed.

 

PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTION BELOW

I HAVE ALSO INCLUDED A REWRITE FOR YOU TO USE IN YOUR OWN WORDS USING TEXTBOOK REFERENCES. AND REMEMBER WHAT YOU WRITE THE PROFESSOR AND STUDENT WILL ASK YOU QUESTION ABOUT….

 

In this Discussion, you explore this controversial topic in more detail.

 

Post a response that addresses the following:

 

To what degree do genetic and biological factors lessen or exempt a criminal offender’s responsibility?

Should some genetic and/or biological factors qualify offenders for lighter sentences compared to other genetic and/or biological factors? Why or why not?

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