Looking at the other side of the argument now, there is enough evidence to support that criminals are made. Some modern research points to a variety of biochemical factors which maybe involved in criminal behaviour such as environmental conditions. Sutherland (1939) believes that criminal behaviour is learned through association with other people, especially close personal groups. The learning includes techniques to carry out certain crimes and attitudes and motives that deal with committing crime. He believes boys are more delinquent than girls because of the way they are brought up, being aggressive and risk seekers. Bandura et al (1963), social learning theory, says that behaviour can be learned through the observation of others, for example, in media such as film and television. Once the behaviour is learned it may be reinforced or punished by its consequences.
There are many social factors that can account for crime and many lie within the family. The size of the family is important; large families mean less attention for some family members and therefore produce negative behaviour. Also the ‘contagion effect’ can occur. There is also correlation between crime and poor interaction within the family, Patterson (1982). How children are brought up can affect their outcome of life, physical punishment encourages the child to consider aggression is acceptable because someone in authority uses it. Straus (1991) found that harsh punishment was good in the short term, but in long term can lead to violent delinquency. Schooling can also be a factor in this argument; low academic achievement is associated with criminal behaviour. Hargreaves (1980) blames schools with a high staff turnover, low staff commitment, streaming and social disadvantages to have the highest crime. When children are labelled, they can either fulfil this label or rebel against it, but in most cases if they are labelled a criminal that’s how they will end up (Becker 1963). Farrington & West (1990) found a link between unemployment, poverty and crime; and the most persistent offenders had not had a stable job. Zimbardo looked at social roles in his prison simulation experiment and similar to this, men who believe in traditional male ideology of being strong are more likely to become criminals.
Having collected information from both sides of this argument, I believe that criminals are both born and made, depending on the circumstances. There is evidence to suggest that crime runs through families and there is a majority of trends arising. On the other hand there are environmental factors aswell as genetic ones that add to this, like Farrington and Mednick point out. Farrington argued that many criminals had criminal parents, but the situation improved when social conditions did. Mednick also found an improvement in crime when social conditions got better. Therefore I think they both act on to each other in producing criminals.