Causes for Criminal Behavior
September 3, 2013
Causes for Criminal Behavior
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, there were 1,203,564 violent crimes committed in the United States in the year 2011. That means that someone was murdered every 36 minutes, raped every 6.3 minutes, robbed every 1.5 minutes and assaulted every 42 seconds. But why do people commit these crimes? What drives them to harm others? "Criminal behavior and violence may be the consequence of head injuries acquired during childhood and youth" (Carrington & Ramos, 2003) neurological and neuropsychological anomalies or the upbringing and social interactions of the ...view middle of the document...
Studies have shown that nearly all people who commit violent crimes have some sort of brain damage. “A study of 15-year-old delinquents conducted at Yale University, found 48 per cent of violent offenders had brain damage, compared to 6 per cent of the non-violent offenders” (Newsday, 1985). The video The Brain and Violence: Secrets of Your Mind Martin Bashir explored the possibilities of whether or not people are born with a tendency toward violent behavior, if it can be caused by brain damage and if it can be linked to childhood. As examples, Bashir interviewed two psychotic death row inmates, Tommy Lynn Sells and Joel Rifkin, and the family of Chris Benoit, the pro-wrestler who murdered his family and then killed himself who’s behavior was claimed to be due to brain damage. On the other hand, neurosurgeon James Fallen found that regardless of how the brain is wired a positive environment can re-direct even a potential psychopath’s predicted behavior.
Criminal behavior and violence may be the consequence of head injuries acquired at any point during life. Any type of blow to the head, such as gang fights, falls, domestic violence, and small blows to the head while driving can result in damage to the brain and can possibly change the personality of the injured (Carrington & Ramos, 2003). Chris Benoit was said to have suffered such an injury at some point during his career. At age 40, Benoit was at the top of his career as a world champion wrestler and was said to be a devoted family man so no one seen it coming when he murdered his wife and children and then himself in 2007. Benoit’s father indicated that his son had symptoms of personality changes such as drinking, insomnia and mood swings along with an obsession with religion. Following his death, scientists examined Beniot’s brain and found the same extensive brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head that had caused changes in the personalities of pro football players such as Mike Webster. “People with brain injuries often deny their disabilities; yet they are extremely frustrated by their inability to think clearly or perform tasks that came easily before their injury. Personality changes are common. Those who were calm and controlled may become quick-tempered and impulsive. In some people anger erupts into aggressive attacks on others. Many with severe brain injuries lack the ability to control their thoughts, emotions, impulses and their conduct and may become uninhibited, promiscuous, anxious, paranoid or violent” (Winslade, 2003, p. 1).
Martin Bashir interviewed Tommy Lynn Cells, a man who had admittedly killed at least 18 people before he was captured and Joel Rifkin, a man who killed several prostitutes including one he cut into 6 pieces in order to dispose of the body. Both Cells and Rifkin exhibited the symptoms of psychopathy. “Primary psychopathy refers to an individual without a conscience and attendant negative emotions, such as anxiety, whereas secondary...