Psychological Crime Causations in Al Capone’s Criminal History

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Various schools of crime causation including the classical and neoclassical school of crime causation, Biological, Psychobiological, Psychological, and Sociological schools have been used to determine the causes. Classical and Neoclassical crime causations dictated that crime is caused by an individuals own free will and prevention is only possible through fast adequate punishment (Schmalleger, 2007). Capone did of his own free will commit the crimes and since law enforcement was unable up to the end to provide fast and adequate punishment, Capone continued his crime spree up until the tax evasion charges.

Unlike the Classical schools of crime causation, the Biological School of crime causation dictates that criminal genes cause criminal behavior and that a criminal can be identified through physical characteristics and makeup. Since both the mother and father of Al Capone were not involved in crime but the brothers joined in crime almost the same time as Al Capone it is difficult for one to determine that the crime gene existed. Also, one cannot determine the Atavism theory of the Biological School of crime causation without extensive studies being conducted on Al Capone himself, which would be impossible now. It is important to note; however, that Al Capone did hold a Mesomorph body type under the somatotyping theory.

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The Psychobiological Theory of crime causation defines that a person is likely to commit crimes if they eat certain foods, suffer from certain physical traumas, or have a certain chromosome makeup. Since Al Capone had to not only endure brain treatment and suffered from syphilis it is reasonable to say that likeliness exists these factors did indeed contribute to the criminal behavior. However, there is no solid proof without obtaining Al Capone’s medical records since the brain treatment did not commence until after release from incarceration and no one was able to pinpoint how long Capone had syphilis. Extensive knowledge about Capone’s dietary habits as well as medical history would have to be examined to make a reasonable assumption of such theories.

Now it is reasonable for one to ascertain that there exist at least some Psychological crime causations in Al Capone’s criminal history since one determinant is a diseased mind. One can ascertain that since Capone had to have brain treatment and the psychiatrists described Capone to be deteriorating to the point of having the mentality of a 12 year old that indeed something mentally was wrong with Capone. Also, since Capone gave to needy families but also at the same time it is possible that Capone had a dysfunctional personality . Behavioral conditioning stipulates that the rate of criminal behaviors will increase through reward or decrease through punishment. Since it was far into Capone’s criminal career before he seen any type of punishment than Capone lacked good positive behavioral conditioning.

Finally, the Sociological school of crime causation defines that social disorganization is a major factor in criminal behaviors. Specifically the Sociological Theories theorize that the impact of individuals with the surroundings, groups, and social environment can dictate criminal behavior. Since under this school of crime causation crime can be the growth of subgroup relationships, Al Capone’s relationship to the street gang members in his youth could be the determinant of his criminal career. Through the broken windows thesis of this school of crime causation, the area in which Capone grew up as a child might have been suffering from physical deterioration and thus welcomed higher crime rates.

No one can really know one hundred percent why Alphonse Capone led the notorious criminal career life that he did, but one thing that is certain is that America will never forget the impact he left in his time as a criminal. Whether it was the environment Capone grew up in or the brain condition that he was found to have, Capone led a life filled with violence and deceit until which time the system was finally able to hold charges against him. Some felt Capone was the Robin Hood of old times while others had come to recognize him as a cold hearted killer. Criminal justice professionals alike may never really know why Capone chose the life of a criminal but America will never forget who Capone really was.

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