The most vivid example of the biological determinism is the theory of Cesare Lombroso. Lombroso based his theory on the assumption that criminals have certain physiognomic features or abnormalities. Lombroso wanted to be able to detect future criminals in order to isolate them from the society. This gave criminology a strong push to create new methods of dealing with criminals and prevent crimes. Lombroso implied that prisoners had common facial characteristics. If to exaggerate criminals in Lombroso’s theory can be identified through the shape of their skulls, asymmetry of the face and head, large cheekbones, ears and lips, long arms and a twisted nose. Lombroso’s theory is the oldest one and it can without a doubt be called the main background data for the whole process of the development of criminology. Lombroso stated that men are more inclined to commit crimes due to the conservatism and the narrow-mindedness of their interests. According to Lombroso women have less social contacts and this is what predetermines their conservatism. This theory of female deviance seems to be very discriminating and not a present-day issue. The evaluation of a person as a “born criminal” basing on his facial features is at least not ethical and rather primitive. Lombroso considered this “born criminals” to be the “atavisms” of the society.
All the biological theories are based on the notion that biological markers foreordain criminal behavior. The core of all these theories is that genetic factors or any abnormalities which are inherited or acquired throughout the life, predispose individuals to the criminal behavior. Lombroso’s theory gave life to probably almost every single biological theory that appeared afterward.
Among the biological theories the XYY syndrome occupies a special place, as it analyzes why males are more often subjects to become criminals due to the presence if an extra Y chromosome. As this syndrome is in the first place associated with the low IQ-level of such males which seems to be a much better explanation. IQ shortage causes the inability to adjust in the contemporary social world that requires constant activity and flexibility. People facing these difficulties are left with no other choice that to turn to criminality. It all starts with low performance at school which results in the awareness of the “irretrievable dissimilitude” from others which later on results in deviance. Also such diseases as Organic Brain Syndrome, ADD or hormonal changes according to the biological theories play a very important role in the inclination to any criminal activities.
Later in his career Lombroso modified his beliefs and admitted that other factors than biology could be involved in producing criminality. Atavism accounted for only about 1/3 of the criminal population. Environmental factors played a role in a number of types of criminality.
Lombroso cited 6 categories of criminality that were not necessarily biologically determined. Among these were the following:
01.Habitual [or career] criminals had chosen crime as their occupational niche (i.e. Mafia soldiers). Lombroso believed prisons acted as breeding grounds of crime for many.
02.Judicial criminals were those who acted impulsively.
03.Criminals of passion acted criminally for noble reasons [Jack Katz's righteous slaughter fits this category].
04.Criminaloids were weak natured and too easily followed the, bad example of others [Sutherland's differential association fits here].
05.Morally insane criminals did not know the difference between right and wrong.
06.Hysteric criminals displayed psychological abnormalities.