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Do you believe there is a latent trait that makes a person crime prone, or is crime a...

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pasha30 | Student, College Freshman | eNoter

Posted June 15, 2011 at 5:52 AM via web

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Do you believe there is a latent trait that makes a person crime prone, or is crime a function of environment and socialization?

Do you believe there is a latent trait that makes a person crime prone, or is crime a function of environment and socialization?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 15, 2011 at 6:05 AM (Answer #2)

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This is a never-ending debate, one that will surely never be solved to everyone's satisfaction.

I would argue that "nurture" is by far more important than "nature" in making some people commit crimes.  I admit that it is possible that there are genetic factors that make it more likely that a given person will end up committing crimes.  However, the environment in which they grow up surely has more to do with whether they actually end up committing crimes.  If you put two people with identical genetic propensities to crime in very different environments, the one who gets put in a poor environment with a weak family support system is surely more likely to commit crimes than the one who is put into a well-off family that is tightly-knit and which gives the child a structured and disciplined environment.

Therefore, genetics may influence criminality, but I would argue that environment and socialization matters much more.

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pasha30 | Student, College Freshman | eNoter

Posted June 15, 2011 at 6:22 AM (Answer #3)

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Could this be a good answer also?

 A person with a latent trait is more apt to get involved in crime. This is because their brain does not translate right from wrong, and when put into an environmental socialization network they are easy to manipulate and will do almost anything to fit in with the people they hang around with. Crime is also an environmental function. Crime can be a learned behavior, if one grows up in a crime stricken area, they may learn that it is an ok behavior.

 

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andreahmj | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 15, 2011 at 6:35 AM (Answer #4)

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I do believe that although genetics can contribute to a person's pre-disposition to behave a certain way, the environmental factors are much more influential.  A person may have certain psychological deficiencies which can influence their behaviour, however, the influence of family, peers etc plays a more vital role.  There is a saying that children are told "do as I say, but not as I do", but it is a long established fact that children mimic actions more than they do what they are told.

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 18, 2011 at 11:13 PM (Answer #5)

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This is the ever-present nature vs. nurture debate put into the context of criminality and law.  In my opinion, it is a combination of the two that makes a criminal.  Further, I think that in SOME criminals, some kind of genetics (nature) takes prevalence while in OTHERS it is their situation (nurture) that is the primary factor.  Also, pasha30, I think your answer (in post #3) conveys this idea very well.

Noelle Thompson

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 12, 2011 at 3:29 PM (Answer #6)

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I think the key to your question is the word "latent," meaning that it is just below the surface waiting to come out. People whose environments are violence-prone can often be nonviolent themselves until some stimulus causes them to break out of anger.

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