Harry is a reformed criminal who has written a best-selling book about his life. In his book he describes his family history, including his difficult family background, his upbringing in a deprived area and how he was constantly in trouble in school. He also refers to friends he believed had a strong influence in his life. Harry tries to explain to readers the reasons for his offending behaviour.
Using your knowledge of psychology, discuss 2 explanations for offending that could be applied in Harry's case. Refer to the description above in your answer. (12 marks)
Harry's case could be explained by both the biological explanation of offending and the learning theory explanations of offending. As he mentions, he believes that his family history could be a factor as to why he ended up a criminal. This could be explained by biology, focusing mainly on family history, and even twin studies.
In his book, Harry describes his family history, stating he had a 'difficult family background'. The biological explanation believes that criminal behaviour has a tendency to run in families, therefore implying that Harry's troublesome traits may have been passed down to him by family members. A study was done by Osborne and West in which they compared the sons of criminal and non-criminal fathers. They found that 13% of sons of none criminal fathers had criminal convictions compared with 40% of the criminal sons. These findings are considered reliable, and is consistent with a genetics influence on offending. If Harry has a father or mother who has a criminal record also, these findings suggest that this may be the reason as to why Harry went on to get one too. However, a genetic influence may not be the only factor of Harry's offending behaviour. The findings Osborne and West had could have been due to other factors such as the environment, as Hollin discovered, variables such as poverty account for criminal behaviour in both fathers and sons. Harry mentions his upbringing in a...