The Causes of Crime
The causes behind the commission of crimes as well as the character of criminals must be studied to see whether they are such by nature and birth. Those who are polluted by various moral vices and commit crime, are they born with such tendencies or does their criminality originate in some spiritual disease? If it does, then how can they be treated?
Some experts in the field believe that a group of criminals are basically born such; criminality is inherent in their nature. This kind of individuals have even certain apparent abnormal characteristics which differentiate them from other people. They are, so to say, criminals by nature. Lombroso, the well-known Italian criminologist, was a strong defender of this theory of his own. His theory found many followers and was received with great interest by his contemporary writers.
Without doubt man is a being susceptible to moral instruction. He performs a part of his actions out of his own free will, and voluntarily refrains from certain acts. Such a being is necessarily endowed with free will, otherwise it would be futile to admonish and instruct a creature whose actions are completely determined and which has no will of its own and no control over its own destiny. Competent thinkers consider man to be free in his actions and responsible for them.
Teachers of morality and ethicians base their moral teachings and educative efforts meant to bring welfare to man on the same approach, that is on a prescription consisting of certain do's and don'ts and bidding one to learn certain points and to abstain from certain actions in order to achieve his personal welfare.
If one were to study the plight of juvenile delinquents in reformatories, prisons and mental hospitals, it would be found that they are those who have grown up in morally polluted or negligent families and had no personal experience of moral rectitude and purity.
As to the group of criminals who feel no restraint against committing any kind of crime or offence, most of them are those who opened their eyes in families devoid of emotional warmth and moral virtues and polluted with various sorts of vices and indecencies, or they are those who have lived in a decadent social environment. It were family and social factors that caused them to choose crime and vice rather than rectitude and purity.
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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