Are Criminals In-born or Made Out of Circumstances?


To rightly answer this question, we will have to learn that ‘crime’ is not only a legal concept but also it has a sociological aspect to understand. Indeed, almost all legal statutes, rules, principals have grass-root in society and develop from sociological phenomenon (like norms & values). Sociologist Emile Durkheim identifies criminals as a person who posses deviant behaviour that goes against social norms[1]. Further, we will see how social circumstances like poverty, illiteracy, family, unemployment affect a person’s behaviour.

Are Criminals In-born or made out of circumstances?

In the eyes of Blackstone, crime evolves from commission or omission in violation of public law either forbidding or commanding it[2]. In simple terms, criminals are those persons who commit an offence punishable under IPC 1860 or another statute. Based on profession we can divide criminals into two categories (I) Non-professional & (II) Professional.

Non-professional criminals commit crime merely once or twice. They do in the rage of angry, ego, revenge or green-eyed intention. They never do much more crimes when their selfish motive completes. Such crimes have come into picture in the matters of land dispute, mutual quarrel or such minor dispute. We can say that such criminals are not inborn rather made out of circumstances which insists them to do it for their ego and selfish motive.

In a real sense, these professional criminals are evil for a civilized society. Some of them are made out of external circumstances and some are made of internal circumstances. In external circumstances, unemployment poverty oppression or discrimination badly affects the person to be influenced by criminal thoughts. Whenever a person loses a job, he doesn’t turn into a criminal every time. Some get a new job and gets more success in comparison to the last one. Unemployment undoubtedly makes life very difficult to survive, buy it can’t be said that unemployment gives birth to criminals. Poverty arises from unemployment, illiteracy or any other cause like disaster robbery. The poor work hard to survive. Many great personalities have come from a very vulnerable background. They made us proud from Abraham Lincoln to our Prime Minister All Bahadur Shashtri. Poverty is not the circumstance that may lead an individual to crime it is evident that though poverty is a factor in criminal behaviour, not all people leaving in poverty indulge in crime. It has been witnessed that such criminals start committing a crime in the greed of wealth by just a single shot and another time they do the same to be wealthier and so on. This regular behaviour one day makes them a professional criminal who commits the crime as granted for more power and money. From this, we can infer that poverty not necessarily makes criminal rather greed & high aspiration with evil thoughts makes. Oppression can be identified as one of the most worse circumstances in which a person becomes a criminal. This makes the innocent honest and truthful person a cruel history shitter criminal. We can see two biography movies like Pan Singh Tomar and Bandit Queen has achieved lucrative success and acclaimed by many critics. These movies show how oppression can convert an honest innocent and gentleman into a gangster. It is human tendency to revenge the oppression and revenge posses incomparable power to make you a criminal. When one doesn’t get any help against his oppression to come out, he becomes a criminal. We can say that if a person doesn’t get any help against his oppression or injustice he can be a criminal only because of circumstance in helpless circumstance. He can control himself after revenge or coming out or can be a hardcore criminal.

In internal circumstance or circumstance which is because of the person himself, we learn about one of the most crucial reason family. Family is the most crucial means for the socialisation of a man. Proper socialisation of a child makes him a respectful person in society. it has been seen that many hardcore criminals come from a criminal background of the family. Children of this type of family learn to commit crime as a matter of prestige and power. They are dependent on income from extortion robbery or likewise. But now from many such well-off families, the desire to educate and to make an honest person to society has been shown. Apart from these type of families weekend chaotic or broken families has failed in proper socialisation of kids and that resulted in developing of criminal behaviour in such kids.

On the analysis of the above circumstance cumulatively, we can conclude that criminal behaviour has deeper roots than social circumstances. Circumstances do not make anyone criminal rather it gives effect to behaviour that leads to being a criminal.




This article is written by Sonu Kumar Chaudhari student of 2nd year B.A.LL.B (HONS) at Faculty of Law, University of Allahabad

Also Read: Can A Foreigner Get Married In India?

Law Corner

Leave a Comment