Do some people break the law more frequently than others? How will one person know that the other person might break the law? Is there a specific cause for this difference? The term “criminal psychology” provides the answers to all of these concerns. This area of research focuses on the actions and motives of those who plan to commit crimes.
Criminal psychology offers a window into the mind of a criminal. Even the way the law is applied is affected by it. Professionals in the fields of forensic psychology and mental health are frequently requested to assist in clinically assessing the mental states of lawbreakers.
PSYCHOLOGY AND CRIME
According to its definition, psychology is a science that investigates a person’s mental makeup and how it influences behaviour. Conscious and unconscious mental states are studied in psychology classes. In other words, psychology investigates how the human mind influences behaviour. Conative, cognitive, and affective factors are among those covered.
As it assists in identifying the mens rea of a crime while doing the crime, the reliability of witnesses, and what penalty should be granted to a person committing an offence, psychology has proven useful in the legal aspect. Psychology has begun to identify criminals as having mental illnesses and recommends that they should instead receive medical treatment rather than punishment. Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and a better understanding of the causes and treatments for mental diseases are among the important advancements in psychology.
In the modern era, psychology has been blended into the legal system. Law is significant to psychology because it embodies conceptions of human behaviour. The fundamental concept of human nature is reflected in legal principles, theories, and practices. Although some legal authorities do not view psychology as a field that is relevant to the law, it helps decision-makers by giving them more accurate assessments of human preferences and tendencies.
Since eyewitnesses are frequently either known to be affected by the accused or to be terrified of the accused, psychology can also be applied to verify the credibility of witnesses. By using peace models, psychology can also assist in lowering the number of false accusations. Its research includes a look at several topics with social and legal implications. It helps to focus on legal psychology rather than clinically-oriented forensic psychology because it is based on the psychological and empirical studies of law and legal institutions. Justice is ensured by taking into account the psychological components of the human mind when making a decision.
Police work also heavily utilises psychology. By examining the crime scene, conducting psychological research, and using other behavioural sciences, forensic psychologists or criminal anthropologists can help identify the culprits. These professionals are frequently used by law enforcement authorities to get insight into the mind of a potential offender by determining the offender’s likely personality type, lifestyle habits, and peculiarities. “Law and Crime” by Psychology Today.
DO SOME PEOPLE BREAK THE LAW MORE FREQUENTLY THAN OTHERS?
To answer this question, we need to take a look at the concept of “human nature”, there are three fundamental categories that constitute beliefs about human nature are as follows:
- Conformity perspective: Humans are basically nice, conforming beings who are greatly impacted by the attitudes and values of the society in which they live, claims Merton R. K.’s thesis. This idea makes the supposition that people are creatures of conformity who desire to act morally. What society deems to be right is what is right. Influence from friends, acquaintances, family and other social networks can assist in finding the correct thing. Delinquency and criminality happen when there is a “perceived contradiction” between the objectives treasured and materialist ideals and the accessibility of legal methods. High-stress individuals and communities are forced to choose whether to uphold or disregard laws and conventions; as a result, they withdraw, conform, or rebel. Merton’s strain theory of deviance
- Non-conformist perspective: According to this idea, people are essentially illegitimate creatures who, given the chance, will disregard social norms and commit crimes. According to Travis Hirschi’s social control theory, crime and delinquency arise when a person has little or no ties to normative or customary standards, which indicates a problem with social checks and balances. According to this theory, human nature is inherently “evil” or anti–social.” Travis Hirschi’s Social control theory
- According to the third viewpoint, people are essentially “neutral” at birth and pick up all of their ideas, attitudes, and tendencies from their social environment. This hypothesis contends that social engagement with others is where criminal behaviour is acquired. Criminal behaviour is not brought on by mental disease, emotional instability, or inborn goodness or evilness. People pick up messages from others who were perceived as criminals and use those messages to learn how to commit crimes. This approach is aptly summarised by the axiom that “poor company produces poor behaviour”.
These theories provide an overview of the factors that affect human nature. Human nature is influenced by society, family history, morality, friends, and human emotions like ego, power, attitude, etc. Crimes like gang wars frequently result from someone trying to assert their superiority over others by using either physical or verbal violence to exert control over them to satisfy their ego.
Those who come from influential families or who have powerful connections are more likely to be involved in criminal activity than those who don’t. They are more prone to commit crimes because they believe they will not be penalised for their crimes since influential individuals are keeping an eye on them. “What makes a criminal? Family? Friends? or their feeling?” by the conversation.
Despite the fact that families frequently serve as significant sources of nurturing and support, many types of criminal and antisocial conduct have their roots in family dynamics or are directed towards members of the family. The majority of people recognise that child and spouse abuse are common occurrences in many homes; nevertheless, other relationships between families and crime are less generally known. It takes time and is influenced by important sociological and psychological elements for a person to develop a criminal predisposition; it doesn’t just happen suddenly. These elements are not influenced by a person’s race or level of wealth; rather, they are a natural part of growing up. The child’s demands and his capacity to fit in can be hampered, as well as factors like love, affection, and the parents’ shared dedication.
In a recent case, In the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh’s Tikunia village, two farmers were run over by a car that was a part of a convoy of cars being driven by the son of Union minister of state for home affairs Ajay Mishra, resulting in two deaths and eight serious injuries. The son has been accused of driving one of the SUVs involved in the collision by the farmers who had come there to protest three problematic farm laws; the minister has refuted this accusation. Witnesses, in this case, were against the politician’s son because they saw him driving the SUV, but the politician insisted that they were lying. This provides motivation for this type of person, making them more inclined to commit crimes than other people. “UP: Two Die After Car Runs Over Protestors in Lakhimpur Kheri, Farmers Blames Minister’s Son”, The Wire.
Satisfaction of need is also one of the essential human characteristics that makes a person more inclined to commit a crime than other people. Although it is well known that resources are scarce and that human wants are endless, many people nevertheless choose to commit crimes because they believe that it is a quick solution. Crime is more likely to be committed by individuals who want to live a comfortable, rich life but cannot afford it than by those who are happy with what they have. Every person has unique human desires, but some people work hard to fulfil them while others turn to crime.
Criminal psychology has shown that an individual may be more motivated to commit a crime than other people due to aspects of his or her human nature. The two most significant forces that strongly influence someone to commit a crime are family and friends. A person may commit a crime more quickly than another due to secondary emotions like ego. Greed drives people to commit crimes more frequently than any other motivation. This kind of person shouldn’t be encouraged or supported by family or friends, and they should be dealt with accordingly in order to stop them from committing crimes at any time. To teach kids the value of morality and kindness, the educational system must be strengthened. Yoga and meditation should be made mandatory in schools and universities since they calm the mind and promote positivity.
Author(s) Name: Lakshman Singh (Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University, Lucknow-Deva Road)