Sample Essay On Crime: Nature Versus Nurture

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Environment, Study, Genetics, Bachelor's Degree, Infancy, Seed, Nurture

Pages: 1

Words: 275

Published: 2020/12/04

The issue of nature versus nurture debate has always been a controversial one. Some people believe that a person is destined to be who is because of his or her genes. On the other hand, others believed that a person’s environment ultimately defines how a person turns out to be. In the early days, a movement called eugenics advocated for the control of human species by preventing criminals and defective persons to reproduce. Some family studies were offered to support the movement. The Jukes and the Kallikak family studies, for example, traced several generations of families to show that bad genes replicate generation after generation. The following, for example, were revealed in the seven generation of Jukes: 180 had been in the poorhouse, 140 were criminals, 7 murdered, 50 were prostitutes, 40 women suffered from venereal disease, and 30 were prosecuted for being illegitimate (Estabrook 1916). On the other hand, the Kallikak family on the side of the feeble-minded barmaid included: 36 illegitimate descendants, 33 prostitutes, 24 alcoholics, 3 epileptics, 82 infancy deaths, 3 criminals, 8 brothel operators, 262 feeble-minded, 197 normal (Goddard 1913). However, the descendants of the marriage by the ascendant and a good Quaker woman allegedly spawned good people.
The results of the studies do not conclusively point to nature or nurture as the underpinning factor of a person’s propensity for crime. Offenders characteristics did not particularly permeated from generation to generation in these families, rather there seemed to be a problem with education and economics. In the Jukes case, for example, the family lived in the backwoods away from the rest of society. They were poor and uneducated so that it cannot be conclusively stated that they were purely products of their genes or by their environment (2003). Involvement in prostitution could be due to poverty. Similarly, illegitimacy is more due to environment and not hereditary. Contracting venereal disease may evidence of lack of education, but not necessarily point to offending. Similarly, the Kallikak family of the barmaid branch may suggest that feeble-mindedness may be inherited, but it does not necessarily spawn criminals. The family seemed to be characterized more by infancy deaths and illegitimate descendants. Thus, a person’s general make-up could be determined by a combination of both genetics and environment.


Christianson, S. (2003). Bad Seed or Bad Science? New York Times. Retrieved from
Estabrook, A. (1916). The Jukes in 1915. Disability History Museum. Retrieved from
Goddard, H. (1913). The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness. Retrieved from Classics in the History of Psychology.

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"Sample Essay On Crime: Nature Versus Nurture," Free Essay Examples -, 04-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 19-May-2024].
Sample Essay On Crime: Nature Versus Nurture. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 04, 2020. Accessed May 19, 2024.

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