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CRIM 300W (51)
Jay H (14)
Lecture 6

Week 6 Lecture - Modern Biosocial Perspectives

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Jay H

SECTION IV - MODERN BIOSOCIAL PERSPECTIVES OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR Introduction  Examine interaction between physiology (ie. functioning) and environment o Nature v. Nurture  Better understood as nature via nurture  Early emphasis on biological aspects of offending o Family studies o Twin studies o Adoption studies Family Studies  Sought to explore the relationship between families and criminality  Numerous studies o 1900’s Dugdale – the Juke family o 1900’s Goddard – the Kallikak family o 1990’s – the Bosket family  Why focus on family? o Early criminological theories emphasized that family values were critical in preventing criminal behaviour o Later, positivist scholars such as Henry Goddard suggested the ‘feeblemindedness’ explained the development of crime and delinquency  Goddard and others argued that ‘feeblemindedness’ was hereditary  This was good for eugenics, so it couldn’t be passed on The Kallikak Family  Martin Kallikak had children with 2 women, his wife, a Quaker woman, and a tryst with a ‘feeblminded’ bar-maid  The linage of Kallikak and his wife was quite affluent. All offspring lead successful lives  Those born to the bar-maid were feebleminded and had a criminogenic lifestyle  [80& of acquired intelligence come from women]  Goddard’s Influence on Canada o Goddard used these findings as support for a eugenics movement o ‘Like begets like’ o Canada enforced ‘voluntary’ and later forced sterilization  Ironically, women’s suffrage groups spearheaded the eugenics movement in Canada o When did this start? When did it end? 1 th th  Start = early 20 century, late 19 century  End = 1972 in Alberta The Bosket Family  Willie Bosket Jr. – series of violent crimes 1980s  Family history of criminality and violence goes bad 5 generations o Great grandfather (Pud)  Began criminal career robbery – incarcerated  Escalated to violence – began cutting people who insulted him o Grandfather  Spousal abuse  Child abuse  Attempted murder  Spent time incarcerated for robbery  Diagnosed as having anti-social personality disorder o Father (Butch)  Very high IQ – 130  Diagnosed with Antisocial personality disorder  Was beaten by his grandfather – “the devil was inside him”  Began criminal career as hustler  Arrested age 8 for robbing a women at gun point  Exploded and stabbed/killed pawn shop clerk over minor dispute – also killed innocent bystander  Sentenced to life in prison o Wilie Bosket Kr  Grew up in extremely dysfunctional home  Violent at a young age Intergenerational Transmission  To explain within-family criminality, many researchers such as Cathy Widom use the term ‘intergenerational transmission’  Widom (1990) examined the intergenerational transmission of abuse to explain the development of criminal behavior and intimate partner violence  The intergenerational transmission of abuse is particularly relevant to Canadian history Transmission of Physical Abuse  If a family member was abused, what was the likelihood that the young offenders was also abused 2 History of PA (n=255) No PA (n=297) Any family member PA 66.3% 33.7% Mother PA 68.4% 31.6% Father PA 82.1% 17.9% Brother PA 86.4% 13.6% Sister PA 80.00% 20.0%  If a family member was abused, chance of you being abused increases Family Studies  Two main findings o Criminality is more common in some families o Criminality by mother had stronger influence on future criminality than did father criminality o This chain of criminality had not been linked to genetics  We CANNOT say that criminality within the family is due to the genetic makeup of that family (ie. maybe they experience the same environment risk factors?)  Limitation: still don’t know if there is a genetic factor Effects of Parental Criminality  Having criminal parents means earlier onset risk factors and offending. Having mom with criminal records means more than having a father with a criminal record. Both parents with a criminal record? Watch out. No criminal parent CF CM CF & CM Average Age of Alcohol use 11.7 11.5 10.9 10.7 Average Age of Marijuana use 12 11.2 10.9 10.8 Average Age of Police contact 12.3 11.3 11.1 10.7 Average Age of First 14.8 14.4 14.3 13.8 incarceration Twin Studies  Monozygotic (MZ) o Split from same egg o Share 100% of same genetic material  Fraternal (DZ) 3 o Come from 2 eggs o Share 50% of genetic material  Twin studies look for concordance rates o Whether 2 people share a common trait o Criminal behavior o If one twin is a criminal – is the other?  Examine concordance rates between MZ and DZ twins  Studies have shown o MZ twins have higher concordance o MZ more likely to engage in criminal behavior What Twin Studies CANNOT Tell US  Are factors shared between twins due to their having the same genetic makeup; or,  Are factors shared between twins due to their having the same shared environment?  Twins tend to be treated the same, especially if they are identical (MZ) twins  How can we tease apart genetic from environmental effects? Adoption Studies  Attempt to determine genetic influence of biological parents  Examine the adopted families who raised children from infancy to adulthood o Ensure little of no interaction between biological parents and adopted children  Mednick1927-1941 o Highest risk children selected  Biological parents criminal – raised in criminogeneic environment o Biological parents criminality had stronger effect than criminality of adoptive parents  Suggest biological link  Ie. criminality despite positive upbringing by a
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