In today’s world , crime became an essential element of the society without
which we can’t even imagine of a crimefree society. So, it is a challenge for
the government to make its people feel safe and secure by preventing crime and
criminals in a society. Is it possible for them by just framing new criminal
laws or by just punishing all the criminals with more rigorous punishments?
The answer would be NO because if you have to get rid of something ,then u
must have to understand every aspect of that particular thing. So to prevent
crime and criminals from the society, we have to understand the cause of it – Why
How does a criminal mind works? and
What is the cause behind the
Answer to all these questions will be answered in either Criminology
or in Criminal Psychology. So, to prevent crime and criminals from the society ,
one should understand and become a expertise in criminology and criminal
According to psychology, criminals can be characterised under two categories
.i.e. Psychopaths and Sociopaths. Psychopaths are the ones, who are born with high
criminal tendencies .Sociopaths are the ones , who are not born with high
criminal tendencies but due to external factors like – emotional imbalance ,
economic issues , family issues due to they choose a path which ultimately leads
them to the path of crime. As we know nobody wants to become a criminal in
his/her life. But unknowingly they indulge in an act which leads them to commit
crime and become a criminal .
Now we can get an idea ,that the Criminal Psychology is the need of an hour to
prevent crime and criminals from the society.
What is crime?
According to Law, crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of public
laws. It is also considered as an act forbidden by law. It mainly constitutes 2
components .i.e. Actus Reus and Mens Rea .
According to Psychology ,there are mostly three acceptable theories which define
i. Consensus view
ii. Conflict view and
iii. Interactionist view.
According to this view ,change is constant in its nature so,
how can a crime stay constant with the change in society. In short, crime
changes with the change in society. For example – Child marriage is considered
as a crime in present society but earlier in the medieval era it wasn’t
considered as a crime.
This view is exactly opposite to the consensus view. Here ,
society is considered as the collection of diverse groups due to their
differences, conflicts rises between them and these conflicts promotes crime.
This is the view which falls in between the consensus
and conflict view. According to this view ,there is no moral right or moral wrong
, rather the change in moral standard affects the legal standards.
Crime can be considered as an act which violates the rights of the people and
affects the society at large by motivating or influencing psychopaths as well as
sociopaths and creates terror and distrust environment among the society.
What is criminal psychology?
There are so many different aspects taken to understand the nature , cause and
distribution of crime. One of these aspect is Criminal Psychology .
Criminal psychology is considered as one of the important branches of
criminology. So many criminologists and psychologists have tried to define it but
till date there is no specific or universally accepted definition of criminal
But some of the definitions which we can consider are:
According to G.H. Gudjonsson and L.R.C Haward in U.K. defined criminal
psychology as ,"The branch of applied psychology which is concerned with the
collection, examination and presentation of evidence for judicial purposes
According to Legal Dictionary ," Criminal Psychology is considered as the
study of will, intention , thoughts , feelings and reactions of criminals and those
who engage in criminal behaviour
As we know Criminal Psychology is the new specialization field which came in
early 19th century. So their is no such big historic events occured in the
history of criminal psychology. But we can trace the roots of criminal
psychology which were found in America and some parts from Britain, Europe and
While in india, it can be traced back to the year 1916 when first department of
experimental psychology was established in Calcutta university. After which Lok
Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan national institute of criminology and forensic science
came up in Delhi in 1972.
Then in 2001 it achieved a global recognition as a specialized field by A.P.A.
Who is a criminal psychologist?
A criminal psychologist deals with the psychological aspects of legal process
such as understanding psychological problem associated with criminal
behaviour treatment of criminals applying theory to criminal investigations.
Some of the veteran psychologists or criminologists are:
He was the first French psychologist , who performed the series of
experiments to understand intelligence.
He was the first professor who discovered the emotional arousal in the eye
He is the father of forensic psychology .He released his first book on the
Role of criminal psychologist:Criminal psychologist will cover a range of roles such as
1. Research evidence to support practice
2. Implementing treatment programs
3. Advising parol boards
4. Modifying offenders behaviour
5. Responding to the changing needs of prisoners and staff.
6. Appear in court as an expert witness.
7. Mental Health Tribunals.
8. Statistical analysis used for prisoner profiling.
Scope of Criminal Psychology:
We can figure out the scope of criminal psychology through four basic roles.
These roles are:
1. Clinical role: In this role , experts uses assessment of a person who had
committed a crime or who has been declared as an accused by the courts .these
assessments can be used to determine if a person is competent to stand in a
2. Experimental role : In this role, experts conducts researches in order to
help judges and jury to decide a case by questioning the eyes witness
credibility and giving their observations to them.
3. Actuarial role : In this role , expert uses statistics such as probability of
an event and they also uses to ask livelihood of an individual reoffending .
4. Advisory role : In this role criminal psychologist advices police in
regards to an investigation . It also helps the judges to understand the
criminal behaviour or psychology of the accused and helps them in establishing
Scope of criminal psychology is very vast . A person who studies criminal
psychology and seeks for a career into it can have many options to become. They
can become law enforcing officers or investigating officers etc. Recently our
Minister of Home Affairs , Amit Shah called for setting up of National Police
University and Forensic Science University, with affiliated colleges in every
state. So , a person who is interested and is looking for a career in criminal
psychology, can find various good options for their career .
My suggestions for improving the Scope of Criminal Psychology are:
1. More no. of research papers must be published on criminal psychology .
2. More frequently seminars , workshops and training programs should be
3. Every university and school should appoint a criminal psychologist to
their campus, so that they can counsel students and help various psychopaths or
sociopaths to stop becoming criminals or not to commit crime.