There are many causes of crime that raise moral issues such as environmental
influences and psychological factors. In this essay, it will discuss environmental
influences such as poverty and upbringing and psychological factors such
addiction and mental health.
MORAL ISSUE AND CRIME- point 1, Poverty.
One environmental cause of crime is poverty. Poverty itself is not a cause of crime but the problems/situations that rise from it are as people don’t have money to meet their basic needs so may need to commit crime e.g., theft or drug dealing (1KU). One moral issue arising from poverty is that it is our duty to help those in poverty as it isn’t always their fault due to low paying jobs, being a single parent etc (1KU).
A religious response I have studied is Buddhism. A Buddhist response to this moral issue of duty is to show compassion and forgiveness to others and aim to demonstrate loving-kindness to all humans
even those who have committed crime (1KU). This then means that an implication of this religious view is that Buddhists are concerned with the welfare of people so they would be involved in helping individuals to ease the suffering caused by poverty e.g., provide a sanctuary for people to go to (1A).
Another implication of this moral issue of duty is that Buddhists would focus on the causes of crime to help individuals reform and get the help they need to have good actions and gain good kamma (1A). I would then agree with the Buddhist response that it is society’s duty as the world would be a kinder and
more compassionate place if we gave individuals the chance to reform and change to ensure each individual is free from suffering (1EV).
However, I would disagree with the Buddhist response as it doesn’t bring justice for the victim as
they have still experienced suffering, criminals deserve to be punished for
crimes they have committed, they should be responsible for their own actions
and Kamma (1EV).
MORAL ISSUE AND CRIME 2- point 2, upbringing
Another environmental cause of crime is Upbringing. If you are brought up in an area of deprivation or where crime is high, criminal behaviour can be normalised as individuals don’t have positive role models (1KU). Those who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) such as abuse or neglect
are at a higher risk of engaging in criminal or violent behaviour in adulthood (1KU).
One moral issue raised by upbringing is that it goes against human rights
as every child has the right to grow up in a safe environment which is not always being met if a child is growing up in a difficult home (1KU). A Buddhist response
to this moral issue of human rights is that Buddhists should not have actions
fuelled by the three root poisons such as greed hatred and ignorance and
having a difficult upbringing could lead to actions fuelled by these therefore
resulting in crime (1KU).
This then shows that an implication of this Buddhist view is that they would accept the complexity of the factors contributing to crime as these cause suffering for individuals and can make them act in ways
they usually wouldn’t e.g., stealing/drug use (1A).
Another implication of this view is that as human rights are not being met and positive attachments have
not been made so individuals could have negative attachments to people, money substances and Buddhists would want to support individuals to limit these cravings and therefore limit crime (1A).
I would agree with this Buddhist response as we need to help as many people as we can as it may not be their fault due to their individual circumstances and these individuals need
compassion shown to them (1EV).
MORAL ISSUES AND CRIME 3- point 3, addiction and being under the influence.
One psychological cause of crime is addiction. Being addicted to drugs or alcohol could be a form of self-medication for many people who have had difficult life experiences, ACES or stuck in a cycle of generational substance abuse (1KU). Being under the constant influence of drugs/alcohol it can affect your thought processes and your ability to make good decisions. People under the influence are more likely to be aggressive and become involved in crime (1KU).
One moral issue raised by addiction is that addiction is an illness and the person suffering has the human right to be supported/helped better themselves (1KU). A Buddhist would believe individuals must follow the five precepts which are a set of ethics that Buddhists should follow for example ‘I abstain from taking drugs or alcohol’ (1KU).
This then shows that an implication from addiction is that it affects more than the individual, it affects their family, friends and communities.
For example, younger people could be influenced by role models in communities which could lead to volumes of young people addicted to dangerous substances which could lead to gangs, Anti-Social Behaviour, premature deaths. (1A).
This then shows that an implication of this religious view is that Buddhists might advocate for rehabilitative approaches to address addiction-related crimes. This could include supporting programs that focus on treatment, counselling, and skill-building to help individuals break the cycle of addiction and criminal behaviour (1A).
I would agree with this Buddhist response as society should give everyone the chance to reform themselves to become a better person as they may only need to be shown compassion at one point to give them the hope they need to change (1EV).
However, I would disagree with the Buddhist response as this might not be fair to apply to some criminals and not others as some crimes are unforgivable some criminals don’t deserve compassion and forgiveness and we need to focus on the innocent (1EV).
For more on this subject, of moral issues arising from crime, click this link here!