Imagine yourself having a walk in the premises of your house and a stone come flying through the boundary wall and hits you. As a layman, one might face difficulty in defining this incident. It can be termed as an assault, an act of violence or a criminal offence. This is a layman's term to define this act but in reality it has a way deeper meaning. Before going in the details of criminal behavior, few points must be pondered like why individuals offend, who are the ones who offend and who are the probable victims. Relationship between psychology and the criminal justice system is of great significance in developing an understanding about reasons that could lead to violence which is the consequence of criminal behavior. Many other facts are of importance while investigating the issue like police investigation, incorrect confessions, professional witnesses, jury behavior and treatment of difficult offenders. Considering the above mentioned scenario where a stone hits a person, before labeling it as a crime, examine and investigate the details about the rock flying. This is not the question that how painful injury it caused or was it intentionally aimed at the person.Background scenario is of great significance while determining criminal activities.
Approaches to Understand Criminal Behavior
Three basic approaches have been identified to understand criminal behavior. These include psychological models, sociological models and biological models. It is a difficult task to completely differentiate the three behaviors while understanding criminal behavior because there is a link between all three. They are somehow interlinked and cannot be separated from each other. All three play a significant role in the expression of behavior. There are some basic rules and regulations which are strongly linked with these three behavior models that are related to exact crime control policies.
The psychological models have a wide range and variety. It ranges from ancient Freudian philosophies to latest cognitive and social psychological models. The basic assumptions of this theory are as follows:
Human beings are the basic unit who are analyzed in this theory in order to discover facts about criminal behavior.
Personality traits are fundamental and essential elements that leads to criminal behavior in individuals.
Normalcy is mostly defined by social consensus.
A fundamental principal that forms the bases of this theory is that crimes are the outcomes of strange, dysfunctional, inapt or inappropriate mental developments inside the behavior of the individual
Criminal behavior can be thought of as a meaningful and intentional act of an individual as it may point out many needs of the person committing any act of violence.
Flawed, abnormal or atypical, mental procedures may have a range of reasons like unhealthy diseased minds, inapt learning, unsuitable or miserable life conditions, and role models of the individuals being a negative character and in some situations inner conflicts give rise to criminal behavior.
The last assumption of psychological model clearly explains the fact that a broad range of causeses exist for criminal behavior and that general principles targeted at the individual would be effective for crime control. Another major reason that can be pointed out for this personality disorder that leads to criminal behavior is antisocial personality disorder in the DSM-IV and previously defined as the sociopath or psychopath. This kind of behavior is prominent due to unusual irregular behavior experienced by the offender in his previous life and is linked with self-centeredness, reduced compassion and responsiveness, and increased potential to look at others as a means to fulfill personal desires and to look forward to them as tools for personal ends. Controls for these individuals would be more risky and overall public policies may not be strict enough to control the behavior in this small subset of criminals. According to the above mentioned six points that forms the psychological explanation of criminal behavior, it can be suggested that outdated imprisonment, penalties, and other court agreements are founded on operant learning models of behavior for crime control. It is natural phenomenon that every individual, no matter what profession he is part of, or what are the circumstances of his life, he would intentionally as well as unintentionally wish to maximize the pleasure and comforts of his life and minimize and reduce as the stress, anxiety and pain of life. Skinnerian-based social psychological theories of support and punishment are powerful in this model of criminal control despite of the fact that the notion of punishment and penalty for crime has a much longer and extensive history.
It has always been believed that punishments are designed and implemented in order to reduce negativity of a certain unjust behavior and imprisonment, penalties; fines are all forms of punishment. It has been interpreted that implementing these punishments will definitely modify the behavior of the criminal in a positive way but according to Skinner's theory, harsh forms of punishments are of no use. They are in general ineffective and cannot modify the behavior in a positive manner. On the contrary, Skinner believed that reinforcement is a better option to deal with criminals. In fact a caution is applied here by Skinner. Punishment can only attain fruitful desired results if it's implemented in a proper manner but regrettably it rarely happens. Few important points need to be kept in mind while punishing an individual, for instance, it needs to be implemented immediately or in minimum possible time when any criminal activity happens. It must be inevitable, and adequately unpleasant. The purpose here is to create a fear of punishment in the minds of the criminal. A very suitable example can be quoted that in most of the countries of UAE; the punishment for theft is amputating of the right hand. There is no delay in punishment and as a result of which the entire nation is fearful of the crime and very few incidents can be quoted from the history of these countries where any individual committed this crime.
On the contrary, most of the thirds world countries have a weak and corrupt judicial system as a result of which all the crimes are prevalent in these regions. Delayed justice in these countries gives rise to criminal activities. Considering the example of United States of America, the judicial system is considered ineffective and it's hard to apply severe and effective punishment, thus it is not an operative preventive as seen in the stable homicide rates of states that carry the death penalty. On the whole, punishments, penalties and sanctions for criminal behavior are based on behavioral psychological principles. Because severe practices of punishment do not seem to considerably lessened-offense rates, other psychological principles have been made functional. In terms of cognitive behavioral psychological philosophies, reintegration and relearning, re-skilling, or educational programs for criminals are systems of psychologically based approaches to regulate crime. The basis of all these methods is cognitive behavioral methods of instructing a substitute practical answer in place of a formally dysfunctional one as opposed to simple punishment. These procedures can be carried out not only in prison but outside as well and have successful in dealing with crime. Thus, education and reintegrating are counted as successful programs to deal with the situation of crime. Although it has been notices that very few jails are well equipped to implement a rehabilitation program.
Many of these programs are extensively used in case of drug and alcohol offenders and have given desired results. Similarly, a very well-known practice of controlling and putting an end to bullying at school level is being done by using DARE program. In case of DARE program, the environment of the offender is changed intentionally by providing him opportunities would be a psychological behavioral principle planned to cut criminality. One of the most effective psychological methods meant at sustaining a noticeable existence of law implementation and approaches to uphold self-awareness of people in alluring circumstances. Such approaches are defensive. For example, it has been a renowned social psychological principle that circumstances that weaken self-consciousness and self-awareness lead persons to being fewer self-possessed and controlled, less self-regulated, and more probable to act without seeing the consequences of their actions. A very good example would be placing mirrors in shopping malls and stores. It can result in increased self-consciousness and self-awareness and less probable to act without seeing the consequences of their actions. In such circumstance, crimes like shop lifting are reduced as people are more conscious because of the circumstances. Similarly, the evidence presence of law-enforcement can greatly reduce crime.
Numerous procedures of criminal sketching are created comprehensively on psychological principles and signify a struggle to either detain present criminals or to recognize persons at danger for definite behavior. Lately there have been exertions to improve approaches to classify persons at risk for definite procedures of divergent behavior comprising criminal activities founded on behavior and communal variables. These forms of disorders can be recognized from certain symptoms evident at early age and may…