To what extent have psychologically-oriented criminological theories changed since Tarde and Lombroso? Explain in detail what you believe to be the biblical substitute for criminological theory.
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Psychologically-Oriented Criminological Theories
Today, psychologically-oriented criminological theories represent an exclusive subset of propositions which attempt to establish major motivations behind an individual’s propensity to committing crime. According to Shin (2018), psychological-oriented criminological theories seek to explain criminal behavior by investigating links with personality, cognition, and intelligence. The psychodynamic theory, behavioral theory, and cognitive theory are three of the main psychologically-oriented criminological theories which attempt to elaborate on factors that predispose individuals to engaging in crime. A comprehensive review is, therefore, necessary especially when considering how perspectives have changed since Tarde and Lombroso.
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Criminal Behavior According to Tarde and Lombroso
Gabriel Tarde and Cesare Lombroso were among the first progenitors of didactic criminology. Tarde’s psychologically-oriented outlook began to take shape during his role as a magistrate within the sphere of public service where he criminals as a product of society (Mitchell, 2017). Lombroso, on the other end, attempted to create a classical school of criminology to explain crime as a major hallmark of human behavior grounded solely on biological variety. Both Tarde and Lombroso based their propositions on conjecture, reflection, and statistical data.
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Tarde viewed criminals as a product of the society in which they are raised. This alluded to criminals being born rather than being made. The criminal justice system and the entire framework underpinning societal structure were, therefore, solely to blame for the emergence of criminal tendencies among certain individuals in society. At-risk individuals would, therefore, find themselves copying what they saw around them and, in turn, contribute in perpetuating crime (Shin, 2018). Conversely, Lombroso held the view that the presence of criminal behavior in society boiled down to the existence of biological varieties. Habitual criminals were, therefore, ethically insane, with an epileptic foundation and corresponded to an elaborate “stigmata of degeneracy”. Furthermore, Lombroso also regarded criminals as a subset of our hominid species that later morphed into savages.
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How Criminological Theories Have Changed since Tarde and Lombroso
Over the past century, criminological theories have come a long way since the days of societal impact and biological variety perspectives by Tarde and Lombroso respectively. Today, a more practical approach is adopted to explain the basis criminal behavior based on mental processes. Chief among these propositions is the popular cognitive theory framework which seeks to gain a better understanding of criminal’s perception of the world and their surroundings. This perspective also investigates problem-solving mechanisms applied by such individuals to determine their impact on the circumstances they ultimately find themselves (Akers, 2013). Criminological theories have, therefore, shifted their focus from society’s influence and biological predispositions to key aspects of moral development, the retention of changes in behavior, and their ability to retain them in the long haul. Emerging psychology-oriented criminological theories now focus on the impact of compliance and punishment on human behavior, individualism, and the accompanying self-interest on human behavior.
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Additionally, new perspectives seeking to explain moral behavior currently focus on evaluating the moral reason of impressionable at-risk cross-sections of society and how they behave based on individual cost-benefit analysis (Krohn & Ward, 2015). As such, they will be expected to re-evaluate the social contract they have with established rules and norms to determine whether they are consistent with their own values. A biblical substitute for criminological theories would be that man is inherently evil and, thus, capable of committing crime. Roman 3:23 asserts that each one of us is a sinner, having fall short of God’s glory. The fall of man in the Garden of Eden documents a scenario where the original sin came into being and managed to corrupt the very spirit of man forever.
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