There is very little doubt about the fact that the question of whether parents should be held responsible for the crimes of their children has a certain controversial quality to it. On the one hand, the currently enacted jurisprudential paradigm in the West (based on the presumption of legal innocence principle) deems such a proposal utterly inappropriate. After all, this paradigm’s most fundamental tenet is that an individual should not be blamed for the criminal misbehavior of another person, even if the latter happened to be a close relative.
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On the other, however, more and more people come to realize that the significance of one’s crime should be discussed in conjunction with the specifics of the concerned person’s genetic makeup. In turn, this goes to illustrate that there is indeed a certain rationale in answering the assignment’s question positively.
The earlier outlined considerations imply that there are a number of different dimensions to the discussed issue, and it was noticed a long time ago that there could be no simple answers to the systemically complex questions. At the same time, however, it is possible to come up with an argumentative response in favor of adopting a synthesized approach to handling the concerned question. That is, whereas parents should not be automatically subjected to legal action as a result of their children’s criminal misbehavior, there are a few circumstances that make the adoption of such a course of action legally justified. This particular suggestion is reflective of the following discursive considerations:
- The extent of one’s criminal mindedness is a category inseparably interconnected with the morphological particulars of his or her brain structuring (Canavero 3). In light of the most recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience, however, it appears that a person’s genes play only a minor role in brain morphogenesis. What this means is that it is impossible to establish a direct link between parents, on the one hand, and their children’s crimes, on the other.
- Most criminals are endowed with the psychological phenotype of a sociopath (a person incapable of acting as the society’s integrated member). Because children acquire social skills through the age of 5-12, there is a good reason to think that parents do play a crucial role in the process of their children turning sociopathic and consequentially criminal (Sinha 43). This happens as a result of the parent’s failure to exercise proper parental control over their children’s upbringing or as a result of people’s tendency to impose too much of such control on their young ones.
The argumentative significance of what has been said earlier is quite apparent. If we talk of a mere “white collar” crime, reflective of people’s biologically predetermined strive to address life challenges in the most energetically efficient way, there is no justification for holding parents accountable whatsoever. Whatever is natural is not quite punishable, at least in the philosophical sense of this word.
If we talk about a particularly violent crime, however, a legal investigation should be conducted to reveal what were the specifics of the culprit’s upbringing as a child. If the evidence is found that his or her parents were involved in making it harder for the person to develop a sense of social empathy, they should be subjected to criminal persecution as well. Clearly enough, this suggestion concerns both the overly protective and neglectful types of parents.
Canavero, Sergio. “Criminal Minds: Neuromodulation of the Psychopathic Brain.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 8, no. 1, 2014, pp. 3-5.
Sinha, Sudhinta. “Personality Correlates of Criminals: A Comparative Study between Normal Controls and Criminals.” Industrial Psychiatry Journal, vol. 25, no. 1, 2016, pp. 41-46.
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