What should be done with the young children of violence-prone criminals if in fact research could show that the tendency to commit crime is inherited?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There is no doubt that, in recent years, science has advanced considerably in identifying a link between crime and genetic inheritance. That said, it is highly unlikely that research would ever be able to establish, with a sufficient degree of certainty, an inherited tendency to commit crime. Such a thesis sounds perilously close to certain late 19th century theories, long since discredited as pseudoscience. The Italian doctor and criminologist Cesare Lombroso, for example, stated quite explicitly that criminality was indeed inherited and that criminals were born, not made.

Even if such a theory could be firmly established, what then? Society would still have to decide what to do with the insights provided by the available scientific research. Policy makers would need to be extremely careful in how to put such theories into practice. In doing so, there would be a significant number of dangers.

Arguably, the biggest would be the labeling of some children as criminal from birth. This would...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 644 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team