Essay On Criminology


Criminal behaviour is the conduct of the offender that results in the commission of the crime or act for which a penalty has been set down in the nation's criminal law laws. The State v. Robinson case can be used to help understand the criminal behaviour of the offender. In this instance, the court made it quite plain throughout the criminal trial that committing a sexual attack on a child under the age of 10 reflects one's criminal behaviour. Since many scholars believed that a person's criminal behaviour was the only result of heredity in the 19th century, several factors have been thought to be responsible for an individual's criminal behaviour (Jones, 2013). They also believed that a person's propensity for a crime could be judged based on the mental state of their parents. However, as time has gone on, people's perspectives have begun to shift. Additionally, it has been established in the modern perspective that a person's criminal behaviour is influenced by both heredity and their environment. Families, children, health, education, and society can all be considered as parts of this environment. And currently, several theorists and psychologists have said that it can be difficult to identify the motivations behind someone's criminal behaviour because there are often numerous contributing factors. To present the causes of a person's criminal behaviour, various researchers have produced their theories and established their points of view (Seruca, & Silva,, 2015). Therefore, in this context, this paper will cover two theories that indicate a person's criminal behaviour, including the social learning theory of Behaviourism and social learning theory and the second theory is Attachment theory developed by the researchers.

Behaviourism And Social Learning Theory Of Criminal Behaviour

Social learning and behavioural theory of criminal behaviour are founded on the idea that criminal behaviour can be learnt and is a product of both the environment in which a person lives and the behaviour or reaction of others to the illegal behaviour of the offender. Criminals are not born, according to this theory (Jeffery, 2021). The central tenet of the behavioural theory is that human behaviour is the exclusive outcome of life experience and that only criminal behaviour can follow. The fundamental factor in a person's criminal behaviour, according to behavioural theory, is the response that person receives from people around them. This is a type of conditioning in which actions are picked up and reinforced through rewards or punishments. Therefore, if a person resides with those who, when committing a crime, readily excuse or even praise the unlawful behaviour, especially by a figure of authority, the offender will be more encouraged to commit a crime or engage in criminal acts, and the criminal activities will be increased (Akers, 2021). In other words, it can be claimed that rewarding offenders for their criminal behaviour rather than punishing them serve as motivation for them to continue their unlawful behaviour. When it comes to the country's legal justice system if a hard-core criminal is not punished for the crime they committed and is instead freed, either because the procedure was not followed or because those in charge of ridding the community of crime were corrupt, this flaw in the legal system encourages criminal activity. In this case, criminals are not punished for their criminal behaviour and are allowed to continue committing crimes. In this way, the criminals gain the bravery to conduct crimes as a result of the direct or indirect actions of the people around them or the system (Point Park University, 2021).
In this sense, the perspective of the social learning theory and the idea of behaviourism theory are somewhat related. According to the social learning theory, developing one's identity is a learnt reaction to social stimuli. It emphasises that rather than a person's intellect, socialisation has a significant role in criminal behaviour. An individual identity, in the view of this social learning theory, is not the consequence of unconscious processes, but rather comes about as a result of modelling one's behaviour in response to the expectations of others (Akers & Jensen, 2017). Family, environmental experiences, and mass media are the three main factors that make up a person's social or surrounding environment, which is the primary factor in a criminal's decision to commit a crime. First, in terms of the family, if a child experiences discrimination from an early age in terms of care, attention, education, and other facilities simply because of a mistake made by his or her parents, or because of the violent environment at home, then the physical or mental development that is necessary for a child will not have occurred as it should have. And a child's development in such an environment makes it more likely for the child to be easily influenced by the wrong people in society who have already been affected by crime or have been imprisoned. Therefore, a person's family environment plays a significant effect on their criminal behaviour (Crossman, 2019).
The social environment a person grows up in is yet another factor, according to the social learning theory, that contributes significantly to the development of criminal behaviour. To establish their rights and place in society, some people develop criminal behaviour and begin to commit crimes when they are subjected to wrongdoing that is against their rights and interests as stated in the constitution or applicable legislation and that behaviour persists for an extended period. Criminal behaviour can be strongly influenced by discrimination and the bad behaviour that causes it (Akers & Jensen, 2017). Here, discrimination may occur in regards to access to basic services like healthcare, education, employment, and other career opportunities based solely on a person's membership in a particular caste or society, or due to a person's lack of financial means, without any justifiable or legal justification. Because discrimination can steal from people their fundamental right to be treated with respect and dignity in society, people turn to criminal behaviour to uphold their above-mentioned rights and to carry out their unfulfilled wishes. And crime rates in society are rising. Although the initial level of criminality associated with exercising their rights is not of a strict or serious type, with time and as demands rise, so does the amount of crime. And as a result of these actions, a person becomes a criminal, from which point it is challenging to extricate them and return them to normal life. Additionally, under the current situation, the media has contributed to the criminalization of people. Due to the accessibility of mass media, certain information about significant or heinous acts in society or the availability of adult content is readily available and should not be viewed by children. In this way, the media is contributing to the development of criminal behaviour in individuals. So, these are a few examples of environmental elements that might lead to criminal behaviour in an individual (Nicholson, & Higgins, , 2017).
Therefore, from a behaviourist and social learning theory perspective, a person's criminal behaviour is primarily caused by their response to their criminal behaviour as well as by the negative environment they are in, which rather than deterring them from engaging in criminal behaviour, provokes them to do so. So, following this view, rehabilitation may be a strategy to stop crime from occurring in society in some circumstances where the criminal is not particularly dangerous, there is a probability that an offender will live in the criminal underworld, and there is no particularly terrible criminal past. However, it might be challenging to change the criminal behaviour of an offender who has committed terrible crimes or has a history of major crimes. Therefore, in situations like these, the only way to avoid crime is to punish the offenders (Nicholson, & Higgins, , 2017).

Attachment Theory Behind The Criminal Behaviour

A person's criminal behaviour may also be explained by the provision of attachment theory. John Bowlby is the author of this hypothesis. He is regarded as the originator of this theory. "Any sort of behaviour that leads in a person achieving or sustaining proximity to some other clearly defined individual who is conceived as better able to cope with the world," says Bowlby, describes attachment behaviour. This attachment to the child's primary caregiver enables the child to feel more protected and to cope with the outside world more smoothly. And during the early stages of a child's development, this relationship is essential. When a child feels comfortable and secure with their caregiver, the bonding process takes place. Additionally, this bond helps the child feel safe physically and emotionally, allows them to feel comforted in trying times, and helps them build a solid foundation. Additionally, it is the essential need that is "ethological," or inherent and natural (Grady, , et al., 2017).

If a child does not have access to the definition of attachment supplied by this theory when it is needed, this lack of access becomes the cause of a person's criminal behaviour. And it gradually develops as the child goes through its growth stage. According to Bowlby, children go through many stages of development that have an impact on and impede the growth of a strong attachment to their primary caregiver. One example of this experience a child might have while growing up is the adoption of foster children into the family ( Abnorm, 2012). Any form of interference with a child's safe attachment to their primary caregiver can cause a wide range of issues in the child's later life. Violence between parents may also prevent a child from receiving the attention or care they need. And as a result of the disturbance, the child has developed into three different states: detachment, despair, and the protest state. Due to separation, the protest state causes extreme distress. The following condition is one of despair, which breeds a state of hopelessness and obsessive grieving and mourning. The condition of separation is the final one. It is at this most serious stage that the child's relationship with his or her parents almost completely breaks down (Fonagy, , 2018).

And these mental health issues have an impact on a child's mental development over time and can also lead to depression. When a child is growing, it can occasionally become a source of wrath and a strong temper. As time goes on, this anger and violence also grow. When a child encounters a challenge at school, in a college setting, or everyday life, the likelihood that they will struggle to solve it rather than negotiating a solution or finding another approach is increased by their lack of attachment. Sometimes this situation worsens to the point that a person is not afraid to conduct a crime involving injury or bodily harm, which is sufficient to bring that person into contact with the judicial system (Fonagy, , 2018). These things begin as low-level crimes at first, but as time goes on and they interact with other offenders or the judicial system, where they occasionally also have to deal with aggression from the side of those in authority, their behaviour becomes more dangerous. And this is the stage where some people can recover by downplaying the events, but if it has significantly impacted a person's or child's mental development, there is little hope of them recovering and returning to their regular life until they receive the appropriate treatment (Ogilvie, et al., 2014).

Therefore, according to the attachment theory, if the situation appears to be as stated in this theory, where the criminal behaviour is a result of any mental suffering from childhood, the most appropriate way to eradicate crime from society is rehabilitation. These children should receive the right care, treatment, and therapy here in this rehabilitation so that the harm that occurred to them can be healed. Other harsh forms of punishment will only be effective if it is not possible or if it is the offender's nature to harm people (Laub, et al., 2017).


Therefore, it can be inferred after taking into account all the aspects of the social learning theory, behaviourism theory, and attachment theory that criminal behaviour is not a born attribute and that no one is born a criminal. It is a result of how that person has been affected by the people and society around him or her since childhood. This is supported by the social learning theory, behaviourism theory, and attachment theory. First, according to behaviourism theory, criminal behaviour arises as a result of how society and the legal system react to the offender in light of their crimes and prior records. Second, according to the social learning theory, a person's social context, immediate surroundings, and the people they leave behind all play a crucial part in their criminal behaviour. This idea, which is supported by both the social learning theory and the behaviourism theory, is accurate since social context, how individuals treat one another, and how they judge other people all matter. And at the last, according to attachment theory, a child's attachment is more important than their criminal behaviour and is therefore vital for them to learn the difference between right and wrong. In conclusion, it can be argued that a variety of variables, starting in childhood and continuing through daily work life, harm a person and result in criminal behaviour


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Akers, R., 2021. The Behavioral theory of crime. [Online] Available at:[Accessed July 2022].
Akers, R. & Jensen, . G., 2017. The empirical status of social learning theory of crime and deviance: The past, present, and future.. Taking stock, pp. 37-76.
Crossman, A., 2019. Social Learning Theory of crime. [Online] Available at:[Accessed July 2022].
Fonagy, , P., 2018. Attachment theory and psychoanalysis. s.l.:s.n.
Grady, , M., Levenson,, . J. & Bolder, , T., 2017. Linking adverse childhood effects and attachment: A theory of etiology for sexual offending. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse,, 18(4), pp. 433-444.
Jeffery, C., 2021. Crime Prevention. Through Environmental Design .
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Laub, J., Sampson, , R. & Sweeten, , G., 2017. Assessing Sampson and Laub’s life-course theory of crime.. In Taking stock , pp. 313-333.
Nicholson, , J. & Higgins, , G., 2017. Social structure social learning theory: Preventing crime and violence.. In Preventing crime and violence, pp. 11-20.
Ogilvie, C., Newman,, . E., Todd, , L. & Peck,, . D., 2014. Attachment & violent offending: A meta-analysis. Aggression and violent behavior, 19(4), pp. 322-339. Point Park University, 2021. Behavioral Theory of crime. [Online] Available at:,-This%20theory%20revolves&text=This%20is%20a%20form%20of,to%20engage%20in%20that%20behavior.[Accessed July 2022].
Seruca,, . T. & Silva,, . C., 2015. Recidivist criminal behaviour and executive functions: a comparative study.. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 26(5), pp. 699-717.
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