Facebook Activity



Teen Ink on Twitter

Home > Forums > Teen Ink Forums > News & Issues > Predicting A Future Criminal

Teen Ink Forums

Lively discussions with other teens
   
Next thread » « Previous thread

Predicting A Future Criminal

wolvesandwildernessThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. posted this thread...
Apr. 18 at 9:42 pm

So there's a professor who works with a lot of psychology and criminology topics that says that you could potentially tell a future criminal by brain scans and early childhood behavior. If you could reliably determine a person to be highly predisposed toward criminal behavior, then which is the ethical choice: monitor them closely/detain them indefinitely to prevent them from committing crime, or take the chance that they will not and be partially responsible for whatever they do?

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread
stuntddude replied...
Apr. 19 at 1:47 am

I think the question, as stated, is impossible to fully answer, because the premise is malformed. There are many different types of crime, and not only does each warrant a potentially different response, but the laws determining what is and isn't illegal change all the time. More importantly, the predispositions that lead people to commit any given category of crime are likely to be very different, if such predispositions exist for that category of crime at all.
 
In other words, an argument could be made that certain people's personalities predispose them toward certain specific actions, but not really toward crime in general, because there are so many completely different *kinds* of things that are illegal.
 
Though I don't think it's possible to fully answer the question, I think part of it is easy to answer: no, it's not ethically acceptable to indefinitely detain someone who has never even attempted to commit a crime. That much, at least, should be obvious to anyone.

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread
Apr. 19 at 3:41 pm

Sorry, yeah- there are ways to predict violent crime in the future, fairly accurately.
There are certain things that tend to cause a person to be more violent: higher levels of testosterone/dopamine/adrenaline, low levels of cortisol, reduced skin conductance, lower resting heart rate, the XYY chromosome, the abnormal functioning of MAO-A, exposure to drugs and alcohol as a fetus and before full development, damage to the frontal lobe, damage to the amygdala, and low levels of grey matter.
Any one of these things aren't going to make you a criminal, but it does increase the likelihood of violent crime, especially if you have more than one (which isn't atypical at all).
So let's say that there's someone who has a very, very high likelihood of violent crime. If you know, what's the solution?
 
For the record, I do agree with you. Detaining someone despite the fact that they have committed no crime subverts the entire justice system and goes against the idea of freedom. I asked this to see what people thought.

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread
Toxophirefighter replied...
Apr. 20 at 12:14 am

I'd have to concur with 'stuntddude' that "Although I don't think it's possible to fully answer the question, I think part of it is easy to answer: no, it's not ethically acceptable to indefinitely detain someone who has never even attempted to commit a crime. That much, at least, should be obvious to anyone"

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread
BlueRoses451This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 25 at 11:31 am

Keep in mind, dispositions DO NOT mean will happen, they just mean it's more likely.
I think with predicting something like this would be more for psychiactric purposes, like intervention to prevent it.

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread
Apr. 25 at 5:20 pm

Is it right to intervene in someone's life if they've done nothing yet? People have interventions when a family member is alcoholic, or when they just keeping blowing off important tasks and people; to have an intervention for someone who might do something one day- is that okay?
 
Another question: If someone is highly predisposed toward violent crime (especially if they have committed crimes before), how moral is it to place someone like them on a watchlist? The U.S. places certain people on watchlists now, particularly for terrorism, to prevent those people from doing anything that endangers the public. How different would this be?

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread
VictrixThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 25 at 8:58 pm

I don't think it's moral to keep them on a watchlist, they have done nothing but show what could be potential symptoms of maybe doing something later in life. 

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread
Apr. 25 at 10:00 pm

I agree, but for the sake of argument: if you are diagnosed with ASPD, you have a much higher likelihood of committing violent crime. If you are born with FAS, you have a much higher likelihood of committing violent crime. If you have lower levels of grey matter, you have a much higher likelihood of committing violent crime.
 
So let's say that you are a person with FAS and low levels of grey matter. That already makes it much, much more likely that you will commit a crime, particularly a violent one. Now let's throw in statistics. Statistically, your parents are more likely to be antisocial themselves, and your standard of living is more likely to be low. That also raises the chance of crime significantly.
 
Is it morally responsible to watch this person for the safety of others, knowing that if you do not, then you are at least partially responsible for any crime that does occur since you had the chance to stop it and you did not? Or is it still absolutely wrong, regardless of the likely future harm to another person?
 
It's a complicated situation. On the one hand, not watching someone could lead to pain and loss in someone else's life, potentially. But on the other, watchlisting someone for something they haven't yet done is not only directly against our justice system, but it opens the door for Orwellian levels of monitoring.

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread
Toxophirefighter replied...
May 2 at 10:20 pm

It's not totally wrong but putting someone on a watchlist, or detaining them, or forcing them to get psychological or psychiatric help when they've done nothing wrong is wrong. You can't right a wrong with a wrong.

Reply to this Thread Post a new Thread

Launch Teen Ink Chat
Site Feedback