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We Can Study the Behaviour of Children to See if They will Grow up to be Criminals - Task 2 Band 9

Updated: Mar 21

Write about the following topic:

Many researchers believe that we can now study the behaviour of children to see if they will grow up to be criminals, while others disagree.

To what extent do you think crime is determined by genetics?

Is it possible to stop children from growing up to be criminals?


Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experiences.


You should write at least 250 words.


IELTS Task 2 Band 9 Sample essay in response to the prompt "Many researchers believe that we can now study the behaviour of children to see if they will grow up to be criminals, while others disagree.  To what extent do you think crime is determined by genetics? Is it possible to stop children from growing up to be criminals?"

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Sample Essay 1

The notion that childhood behaviors could predict future criminality, juxtaposed with the debate on genetic determination versus environmental influence, sparks considerable discourse. This essay asserts that while genetics may predispose individuals to certain traits, environmental interventions hold substantial sway in diverting potential criminal paths.


Delving into genetics, studies suggest a correlation between genetic makeup and predispositions to behaviors such as aggression or impulsivity, traits often associated with criminality. However, this is not deterministic; genetic predispositions require environmental triggers to manifest. For instance, a child with a genetic inclination towards aggression might only exhibit such behavior when provoked by neglect or abuse. This interplay highlights the complexity of predicting criminality based solely on genetic markers. Moreover, epigenetic research underscores the potential for environmental factors to alter gene expression, suggesting that positive interventions can mitigate the impact of genetic predispositions.


Conversely, environmental factors play a pivotal role in shaping an individual's path, with robust evidence suggesting that supportive, nurturing environments can significantly counteract negative genetic predispositions. Educational programs, extensive community support, and family counseling have all demonstrated remarkable efficacy in altering the trajectories of at-risk youth positively. A case in point is the "Perry Preschool Project," which evidenced long-term benefits, including substantial reductions in criminal behavior, through early childhood education and intervention. Such examples underscore the potential of targeted interventions and proactive societal engagement to prevent the development of criminal behavior, even in those with genetic predispositions, emphasizing the transformative power of positive environments.


In conclusion, while genetics may influence certain predispositions, it is the environment that largely determines the manifestation of criminal behavior. This essay advocates for a balanced view that considers both genetic and environmental factors in addressing the complexities of human behavior. By prioritizing early intervention and support mechanisms, society can mitigate the risk of children growing up to become criminals, underscoring the potential for change and redemption inherent in every individual.


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Sample Essay 2

Exploring the origins of criminal behavior unveils a debate between genetic predispositions and environmental factors. This essay contends that while genetics provide a backdrop, it is environmental influences that predominantly shape an individual's likelihood of engaging in criminal activities, with a focus on the critical roles of societal support structures and rehabilitation programs in mitigating these behaviors.


Environmental factors undeniably mold an individual's development. Research underscores the transformative impact of nurturing environments, which can significantly redirect the life paths of those predisposed to criminality by genetics. For instance, the "Scandinavian Model" of social welfare exemplifies how comprehensive societal support structures, including education, healthcare, and social services, strongly correlate with lower crime rates. This model suggests that when basic needs are met and individuals feel comprehensively supported, the inclination towards criminal activity notably diminishes. This illustrates the profound and overriding effect of environment on genetic predisposition, emphasizing the critical need for holistic societal support.


Furthermore, rehabilitation programs targeting behavioral modification have shown success in reforming offenders, further evidencing the malleability of human behavior in response to environmental conditions. Programs like Norway's Bastøy Prison, focusing on human ecology, personal responsibility, and community living, have resulted in remarkably low reoffending rates. This innovative approach demonstrates the potential of constructive environmental influences to override genetic tendencies, advocating for a progressive approach to crime prevention that prioritizes social investment and rehabilitation over traditional punitive measures. These successes not only highlight the effectiveness of such programs but also reinforce the importance of viewing criminal behavior through a lens of environmental impact and support.

 

In conclusion, though genetics may influence behavior, the environment significantly shapes an individual's path. Advocating for investment in nurturing environments and rehabilitation, this essay underscores their potential to redirect individuals towards positive futures, fostering a more equitable and resilient society.

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Sample Essay 3

While some research suggests a link between genetic predisposition and delinquent behavior, others argue for the significant role of environmental factors. I firmly contend that while genetics can contribute to certain behavioral traits, it is primarily environmental influences that shape a person's propensity towards criminal behavior. Furthermore, early interventions in a child's environment can significantly deter potential delinquency.


Indeed, our genetic composition plays a considerable role in sculpting our personalities. Certain studies have even identified correlations between particular genes and behaviors often linked to criminality, such as impulsivity and aggression. Nonetheless, it's essential to understand that our genetic blueprint doesn't dictate our behavior in a deterministic manner. The manifestation of aggressive tendencies in individuals with relevant genetic predispositions can be curtailed or even entirely suppressed by environmental influences, demonstrating the intricate interplay between genetics and environment in shaping behavior. Such a conclusion is further substantiated by the renowned Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, which highlighted the dominant role of environmental variables in fostering criminal tendencies. Key among these are poverty, exposure to violence, familial criminal history, and educational deprivation.


To divert children from a trajectory leading to criminality, effective interventions and robust support systems are indispensable. The Perry Preschool Project, conducted in the 1960s, serves as a prime example of such interventions. The project extended high-quality preschool education to children hailing from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and achieved significant reductions in criminal behaviour rates among its participants as they aged. By offering children a stable, violence-free environment, complemented with quality education and mentorship, we arm them with the necessary means to resist the allure of crime and violence. Thus, these interventions not only shape the individual futures of these children but also construct a safer society at large.


In conclusion, although genetics can contribute to predispositions linked with criminal behaviour, it is primarily environmental influences that hold the key to an individual's proclivity towards crime. Guiding children away from criminal trajectories via strategic environmental interventions is not merely possible but also an essential step towards a safer society.


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Sample Essay 4

Some argue that studying the behavior of children can reveal future criminal tendencies, while others dispute this notion. This essay will argue that it is not genetics, but rather environmental factors, that significantly influence crime propensity observed when we study the behaviour of children. Moreover, it will discuss how well-strategized educational policies can help mitigate the emergence of future criminals by shaping children's behaviors early on.


Disentangling the influence of genetic factors and environmental contexts in determining criminal behaviour is complex. It is undeniable that our genetic makeup dictates physical and biological attributes. However, the assumption that offspring of law-breakers will inevitably become delinquents does not hold water. More likely, environmental determinants, such as socio-economic status and familial dynamics, exert more significant influence on a child's moral compass and behavioural tendencies. For instance, a child from a financially stable household with responsible parental guidance is more likely to understand that engaging in illicit activities is harmful. Thus, it underscores the importance of a nurturing environment in steering children away from potential deviant paths.


When considering the prevention of juvenile delinquency, the significant role of education cannot be underestimated. Governments should consider incorporating law education into the compulsory curriculum. By doing so, children can gain a more profound understanding of the implications of their actions under the law, which can consequently shape their understanding of what is legally acceptable and what is not. Moreover, striving for universal accessibility to quality education is imperative. There exists a correlation between a high literacy rate and a reduction in crime rates. For example, in the early 21st century, Vietnam experienced a notable decline in crime rates, which many attribute to substantial government investment in making education more accessible.


In conclusion, environmental influences, rather than genetics, largely shape criminal tendencies, and investing in quality education can play an integral role in curbing the emergence of future criminals. Through nurturing environments and law-centric education, we can guide children towards becoming responsible, law-abiding adults.


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