Criminal Behavioral Psychology, Uncategorized

Risk Factors Predictive of Criminal Behavior

As each individual follows a developmental pathway, individuals identify with certain risk factors that may predict potential behavior (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Early identification of risk factors helps improve intervention and prevention potential in regards to delinquent and criminal behavior (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  According to the U.  S.  Department of Justice, the identification of risk factors within an individual predicts the probability that the individual maintains potential for offending (Shader).  Additionally, risk factors impact varies among individuals, there is a cumulative effect among multiple risk factors, many disorder share risk factors causing a dysfunction between the risks and disorders (Shader).

Social risk factors include poverty and limited resources, antisocial peers, peer rejection, preschool or school experiences (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Poverty in childhood can lead to hindrances among stages of development in which an earlier hindrance can lead to a hindrance later in life (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Research implicates poverty as a predictor for male and female adolescent violence as well as youth victimization (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Due to the influential poverty co-factors, the relationship of violence and poverty is not exact in the sense that the effects of poverty such as inadequate living conditions and material possession strain familial and social relationships which may result in victimization, witnessing negative experience, or even exhibiting negative reactions (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  This is not to say poverty leads to offending or criminal behavior, rather the effects are predictors of potential behavior (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Law enforcement tends to target impoverished communities and children of these impoverished communities are often taken into the system and joined with others who promote delinquent behavior as a form of treatment (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  The text provided a contrast of the impoverished versus the middle and upper class communities.  Those who can afford proper representation and the “better effects” in life tend to receive more adequate accommodations that hold promise in rehabilitating the negative behaviors (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).

Familial risk factors include faulty or inadequate parenting, sibling influences, and child maltreatment or abuse (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  According to the U.  S.  Department of Justice, family structure (parenting skills, size, home discord, treatment of children, and antisocial parents) is linked with juvenile offending (Shader).  A study indicated predictors of violent offending including harsh discipline, lack of supervision from parents, and parental conflict and aggression within the home (Shader).  Children who witness violence in the home may suffer direct or indirect effects that may impact them immediately or even surface later in life.  Effects may include cognitive deficits, anxiety, or even development of the aggressive behavior witnessed or experienced.  This creates a cycle of violence that may pass through the future ties of the family.  As the child witnesses or experiences the violence, he or she may exhibit the same behavior in an effort to inflict power and control over situation or circumstance or as a coping strategy to deal with stress.  The coping of life through aggression and / or violence may lead to future offenses. Single parent households and households containing several siblings also indicate increased risk of criminal or violent behavior (Shader).

Psychological risk factors include inadequate cognitive or language ability, inadequate self-regulation skills, poor interpersonal and social skills (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Psychological risk factors are more biologically based than social or familial risk factors as these define the biological aspects development and personality (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Empathy is a psychological risk factor that refers to the emotional response to another’s feelings and the perception and understanding of an individual’s feelings (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  A deficiency in empathy is indicative of aggressive and antisocial personalities which may lead to violent behavior and future offending (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Studies indicate animal cruelty tends to lead to serious violent behavior later in life (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Antisocial behavior is linked with cognitive and language difficulties as well as conduct disorders that increase the risk of aggressive or violent behavior as well (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).

It seems like all risk factors are able to be remedied.  For instance, we have learned that our initial learning comes from our familial environment as this is where learning first takes place.  Creating a positive, calm, environment that promotes proper discipline and direction will reduce the chance of social deficits as the individual has learned how to develop positive relationships and functioning social skills.  As a result of this, psychological risk factors decrease, well, I think they would because the deficits in familial and social factors cause a hindrance to the psyche that creates the motivations and drives of behavior.  According to the text, reducing coercive family interaction have proven beneficial to the social and psychological development of children (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Research often times traces offending behaviors back to childhood and early adolescence (Bartol & Bartol, 2014) indicating intervention early on can adapt behaviors from unacceptable and potentially damaging to acceptable and positive.

 

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2014). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (10th ed.). Retrieved from https://digitalbookshelf.argosy.edu/#/books/9781323121146/cfi/0!/4/2/16/42@0:17.4.

Shader, M. U. S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/frd030127.pdf

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abnormal psychology, Criminal Behavioral Psychology, Maladaptive psychology, Uncategorized

Juvenile Homicide

The most serious type of crime, Criminal Homicide or Murder, is the “unlawful taking of the life of another” and regarded as the most dangerous type of crime (“HG”, 1995-2016).  Two-thirds of the United States have adopted a penal code system that breaks murder down into separate degrees (“HG”, 1995-2016).   Murder is the most serious type of criminal homicide and includes varying degrees:  First Degree (Premeditated), Second Degree (Intentional, not premeditated), Manslaughter (death is due to unintentional actions), Justifiable Homicide (self- protection), and other homicide (“HG”, 1995-2016).  Other homicide includes felony murder in which the murder was a direct result of involvement in a crime that led to the death (“HG”, 1995-2016).  Within these categories lies juvenile homicide.

According to the “Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)” Statistical Briefing Book, juvenile homicide peaked in the 1980’s and had drastically declined throughout the 1990’s and currently (“Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention”, 2015).  However, juvenile homicide is a phenomenon we often hear in our communities.  According to the OJJDP, Juvenile homicide is committed most often by males between the ages of fifteen and seventeen and of American Indian decent (“Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention”, 2015).   Although juvenile homicide rates are on the decline, it remains a serious problem within communities.  Post-incarceration studies implicate the necessity of prevention and intervention strategies.

 

Development and Origins

Juvenile homicide offenders murder for various reasons:  Psychological disorders, neurological impairments, history of family violence, substance abuse, early onset of aggressive and antisocial behaviors, or learning disabilities (Khachatryan, 2015).  Motivations of offenders include orientations of conflict, crime, parricide, psychotic episode, and sexually driven (Khachatryan, 2015).  Understanding the motivation and triggers of the offender gives more incite critical for proper intervention and prevention of juvenile homicide.

Focus

Research indicates the majority of juvenile homicide occurs by males between the age of fifteen and seventeen, but several were committed as early as ten years old (“Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention”, 2015).  Statistics dictate an urgency in the intervention of children who possess risk factors associated with potential violence in the future.  Targeting youth exposed to certain risk factors such as poverty, familial abuse patterns, issues with peers, and other social, familial, peer, and educational risk factors will help deter behavior potentiating homicidal ideations and tendencies before they take effect in the youth (Catalano, Ph. D., Loeber, Ph. D., & McKinney, Ph. D., 1999).

Prevention

Preventing homicidal behavior begins with recognizing the risk factors associated with the development of the behavior.  The risk factors discussed above are alarms that indicate a child in need of intervention.  Familial risk factors should be recognized as the foundation of the children begins in the home and creates the acceptable behaviors the child exhibits in society (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  Familial risk factors include faulty or inadequate parenting, sibling influences, and child maltreatment or abuse (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).  According to the U.  S.  Department of Justice, family structure (parenting skills, size, home discord, treatment of children, and antisocial parents) is linked with juvenile offending (Shader).  A study indicated predictors of violent offending including harsh discipline, lack of supervision from parents, and parental conflict and aggression within the home (Shader).

Interventions

School-based interventions for at-risk youth including competence training for children and training for educators and parents to encourage proper socialization and interaction with peers proved effective in reducing aggressive behavior, substance abuse, and sexual activity in addition to increasing academic performance for the Seattle Social Development Project (Catalano, Ph. D., Loeber, Ph. D., & McKinney, Ph. D., 1999).   In addition to in-school interventions, after school programs deter self-alienation and promote socialization while introducing self-protective factors through the promotion of prosocial and leisure activities such as sports and studying (Catalano, Ph. D., Loeber, Ph. D., & McKinney, Ph. D., 1999).

Mentoring programs in which adults act as role models providing a positive and supportive atmosphere for youth raised in a single parent home (Catalano, Ph. D., Loeber, Ph. D., & McKinney, Ph. D., 1999).   Although these programs have not proven highly beneficial as a simple big brother / big sister opportunity, it was found when the mentor incorporates cognitive behavioral techniques in the time spent with the child, academic success increased, truancy reduced, and behavior became more confident when rewards were offered (Catalano, Ph. D., Loeber, Ph. D., & McKinney, Ph. D., 1999).   Mentoring programs also prove beneficial in increasing the child’s perception of self-ability and self-esteem (Catalano, Ph. D., Loeber, Ph. D., & McKinney, Ph. D., 1999) which promotes a positive outlook on personal potential.

Media intervention techniques may also prove beneficial.  Running campaigns that promote acceptable positive behavior as an attempt to change the societal attitude and educate the community (Catalano, Ph. D., Loeber, Ph. D., & McKinney, Ph. D., 1999).   Rather than ads and movies that promote and glorify the “thug” life, ads that deter their behavior may cause a child not to desire the life of the streets.  Promoting individuals who have defeated the odds and didn’t fall to a statistic by not following those negative behaviors may allow a child to have hope and begin dreaming of a better future. Additionally, allowing reformed offenders to advocate youth their experience may lead to behavior modification because the youth may develop a fear of the consequence or a desire to be upstanding to avoid the harsh reality of the road they are currently at risk to endure.

 

Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2014). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (10th ed.). Retrieved from https://digitalbookshelf.argosy.edu/#/books/9781323121146

Catalano, Ph. D., R. F., Loeber, Ph. D., R., & McKinney, Ph. D., K. C. (1999, October). School and community interventions to prevent serious and violent offending. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, (), 1-12. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/177624.pdf

  1. (1995-2016). Retrieved from https://www.hg.org/murder.html

Khachatryan, Norair, “Thirty Year Follow-Up of Juvenile Homicide Offenders” (2015). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Retrieved from http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/etd/5822

Office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05262

Shader, M. U. S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/frd030127.pdf

 

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