A collection of inferences concerning the psychological, mental, behavioral, and physical aspects of the person perceived as a criminal or series of crimes is criminal profiling. This is important because the criminal-profiling community usually suffers in processing criminals or crime-related activities due to shortages of inferences and a lack of accurate data about criminals. This paper explores the various aspects of a criminal called Pablo Escobar, a Colombian drug trafficker. The paper will explain contributing factors such as developmental, biological, learning & situational, and mental disorder factors that may have pushed the person into crime. Analyzing all these factors needs an understanding of the science of logic and an understanding of bias. However, scientific observers may sometimes show preference when performing crime profiling because of different forms of bias, whether unconscious or conscious (Arbour, Lacroix & Marchand, 2021). These biases can contaminate the main objective of the factors and provide wrong information about the criminal. How forensic observers may take action and rectify any distorted information about the aspects such as mental, psychological, or behavioral factors of the criminal. However, strict adherence to forensic and scientific methods is essential in conducting proper crime profiling to avoid bias and provide the most accurate information about the criminal.
- Developmental Factors
The developmental factors that may have made Pablo Escobar one of the deadliest and hardcore drug traffickers and criminals include adverse childhood experiences, substance abuse, and a hostile social environment. Pablo Escobar was born and brought up in a low-income family in Medellin. However, his father abandoned his family when he was a child, which significantly negatively impacted his life (Arbour, Lacroix & Marchand, 2021). Moreover, Pablo Escobar was abandoned by his father, which made him live in abject poverty. The only option he had was to indulge in drug addiction and substance abuse. That made him start by being a car thief for a brief period and a kidnapper. Escobar got serious about it after dabbling in the small crime industry and entered the cocaine trade in the early 1970s.
Moreover, the social disorganization theory theorists would relate Pablo Escobar’s childhood delinquency to society and the ecological elements of the societal surroundings (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). This social disorganization results from a societal inability to organize itself in a socially accepted way, particularly in a manner that results in social welfare and harmony due to the social changes within the society. For example, Pablo Escobar’s community experienced a considerable relocation of the inhabitants that continued to develop another kind of settlements within that society resulting in slums like Medellín Slums. That made Pablo and his peers from such slums, characterized by poverty, indulge in unethical, crime, and immoral behaviors because they feel pushed by such poor socio-economic welfare. Finally, Pablo and his peers were forced to abandon drug addiction and substance abuse because there was a culture separation brought about by civilization and modern society (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). Such a significant cultural separation resulted from the fragmentation away from the leading community, forcing the society where Pablo lived to develop unique cultures, norms, and values. Some scholars argue that associations with different cultures by young people have introduced antisocial or deviant behaviors, thus leading to the definition of criminal research as a crime.
The critical theorists also believe that several differences concerning gender or race characteristics may be responsible for increasing crime rates among various young people in society (Suzuki, Masahiro & Wood, 2017). Consequently, the critical theory of juvenile justice outlines the way differences among multiple groups and differences in authority positions trigger crime activities among young people. For example, the traditional racial differences have been considerably associated with Marxism theory. The Marxism theory outlines that positions viewed as superior in society are likely to dictate to the inferior ones. In a community that is set up based on the Marxist point of view like the one where Pablo lived, the minority does not have any say as the majority on what to do dictates them. A lot of biases characterize such societies, and people who feel that they are being oppressed can end up indulging in a lot of delinquent activities as a means to express their dissatisfaction.
- Biological Factors
The biological factors that may have led to Pablo Escobar’s delinquent behaviors include neuro-biology, neurotransmitters, and genetics. These are some of the factors the crime researchers usually attempt to understand and address concerning the causes of crime in crime research. It is now believed that criminal behavior is genetic as, first of all, males are primarily criminals due to their aggressive behavior in genes. Male chromosomes are XY for normal. Moreover, criminals have more than one Y chromosome, i.e., this could be XYY, or with more Y chromosomes; thus, they are called super males (Suzuki, Masahiro & Wood, 2017). With the Y chromosome, the males’ aggressiveness towards things increases, reducing their ability to think correctly and calmly. In addition, DNA also plays a significant role in criminal activities because human beings tend to inherit every substantial part of their behavior through genes. As researched, human behaviors are influenced by a large number of Genes. However, although an individual’s effect of these genes is minimal, it collectively decides human behavior. Therefore, genetics play a vital role in determining whether they can commit a crime because it allows flexibility in human behavior and makes them different from other family members.
The chemicals used by the body to convey messages between cells are called hormones. Dopamine, Serotonin, and norepinephrine are the primary hormones that have attracted the attention of crime researchers to establish the relationship between criminal behaviors and hormones. However, there is a strong correlation between antisocial behaviors and low levels of Serotonin (Suzuki, Masahiro & Wood, 2017). Moreover, the relationship between criminal behaviors and norepinephrine is moderate, while the one between Dopamine and criminal behaviors is insignificant. Furthermore, the relationship between criminal behaviors and low Serotonin activity has been found to influence childhood antisocial personality disorders conduct disorders significantly, and they are likely to indulge in crimes involving impulsivity.
Finally, neuro-biology usually focuses on the function and structure of the brain. Scientists can now examine the brain’s functioning through emerging modern technologies. One of the most remarkable technologies is the functional magnetic resonance which can provide all the information on the brain’s functioning (Feldstein E et al. 2011). The damaging of neurons caused by substance abuse or drug addiction is often one of the significant mediating mechanisms which may have made Pablo Escobar indulge in drug trafficking crimes. The damaging of the prefrontal cortex is one of the critical pieces of evidence that illustrates the effect of neuro-biology in criminal activities. Alcohol and other drugs may cause severe damage to the prefrontal cortex and lead an individual to illegal activities. Moreover, the damage to the prefrontal cortex usually limits an individual’s ability to control aggressiveness, impulsive feelings, and emotions leading to crime.
- Learning & Situational Factors
Several situations could have made Pablo Escobar be an extensive criminal and drug trafficker in Colombia. These situations include living in an offensive location. As discussed earlier, Escobar was raised in the Medellín Slums, where criminal activities were highly rampant, and that may have induced him into illegal activities. Moreover, he was abandoned by his father during his youthful years, which plunged him into severe poverty. Therefore, poverty may have played a significant role in making him a criminal. Greed was also another element, and many criminals are not impoverished. Also, due to poverty, Pablo had to get used to criminality because he did not know any other way of life. Learning is also a significant factor of crime because people will tend to emulate what the entire society does (Feldstein E et al. 2011). The community where Pablo was raised had several drug addicts and criminals, and he may have learned the behavior from them, leading him to become a significant drug trafficker in Colombia and within its borders. For many, it is a mental health problem, with most people seeing the need to pay for drugs or alcohol. The addicts often cannot work because of their addictions and require relatively high incomes for their habits (Jennings et al. 2016). To reduce crime, there is a need to treat drugs addicts and people with mental health issues effectively and move away from the cycle of punishment, which does not work. However, decriminalizing drugs and putting the money from the ‘War on Drugs’ into treatment will change society and crime far more than heavier sentencing.
- Mental Disorders
Crime is often linked to mental illness because people suffering from sociopathy have problems committing crimes. By reaction, those who suffer from psychopathy have also been related to criminal activities worldwide. In addition, criminal behavior comes from the lack of mental stability due to some disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, stress, PTSD disorders, etc. (Feldstein E et al. 2011). Moreover, most crimes are often linked to mental illness. Researchers make such a conclusion that many of the crimes committed are not crimes of opportunity but crimes made by people who are not capable of choosing because of mental illness. However, (Jennings et al. (2016) believe that there is no relation between mental disorder and crime and argue that it is not because an individual has a mental illness that makes them definitively be criminals. However, some people who have a mental disorder can commit a crime. The author argues that people can think of psychotic and schizophrenic when they hear about criminal activities, but that is not true as it only discriminates and stereotypes against this group of people. However, some people have concluded Escobar may have also been mentally ill because of the kind of criminal activities he committed. That makes us also conclude that he may have suffered from behavioral disorders like pyromania and antisocial personality disorder like a psychopath.
- Impact on Prosecution & Treatment
The prosecution of criminals has also been found to have little impact on crime reduction. The policies and laws designed to deter crime play a minor role in reducing crime because they are ineffective. Even the criminals themselves know very little about the sanctions for specific crimes (Jennings et al. 2016). In that regard, Escobar’s many prosecutions and punishments may have played a significant role in hardening him into a hardcore criminal. However, treatment of criminals has been found more effective in reducing crimes. In that regard, a juvenile diversion program is an intervention approach that aims to redirect young people away from the juvenile justice system’s formal processing though still putting them responsible for their delinquent actions. Such diversion programs vary from release programs, and low-intensity warns to high-intensity therapeutic programs (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). The intervention programs are designed in a manner that is less expensive than the court proceedings since they help reduce the burden to the juvenile justice court systems. They also help to minimize the caseload that is always associated with young probation officers and free up the inadequate services or resources for the more significant risk juvenile offenders (Bartol & Bartol, 2017). Nonetheless, the diversion program’s primary objective is to decrease recidivism and reduce the occurrence of delinquent behaviors without necessarily having to process the juvenile offenders formally in the juvenile systems.
Contribution of Psychologists
Mental health care, including medication for hardcore criminals like Pablo Escobar, and addiction treatment would most likely reduce the crime rate. A vast majority of people indulging in crime do that because they are drug addicts. Even if their actual behaviors are not directly drug-related, such as possession or distribution, many people are drug traffickers, armed robbery, etc.; most of these crimes are committed to getting money for drugs. In addition, many people indulging in corruption have had horrific childhoods (including sexual assaults) that they have learned to deal with by using drugs because they do not have access to mental healthcare. In that regard, psychologists can help them and make them abandon criminal behaviors. Unfortunately, many people do not sympathize with these issues and only want to fund punishment rather than treatment. The ironic thing is that, by doing this, they are increasing penal costs because, without psychologists’ treatment, over 50% of criminals will reoffend and go back to prison, thus leading to endlessly repeating the cycle. However, if the criminals were offered mental health and drug treatment, they would learn different coping mechanisms and process childhood trauma instead of just numbing it with drugs. Until the criminal justice system figures this out, the crime and recidivism rates will continue to rise.
Over time now, the juvenile courts have continued facing criticism mainly on how they handle cases associated with delinquent behaviors. The complaints are also associated with people’s perceptions that juvenile courts handles are only primarily meant to address children’s criminal issues. However, over the decades, the juvenile justice system has remained a topic that is hotly debated by various sociologists, criminologists, and psychologists. The majority of the researchers have ever concentrated on the actual cases and explanations through the use of multiple theories comprising sociological theories. However, there is a substantial need for the juvenile justice experts to have both flexible and different theoretical perspectives regarding the young people’s deviant behaviors causes that are mainly caused by the young people’s ways of living and being influenced by their socio-cultural status. This paper considers the contributing factors such as developmental, biological, learning & situational, and mental disorder factors that may have pushed the person into crime.
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