Psychology and crime these two are prime facie two distinct things, but actually psychology is connected in many ways to the different aspects of crime; specially in the last 50 years the attention is shifted on the interaction of these two by criminologists, jurists and scholars. How the criminal tendency is developed, it is intrinsically connected to the domain of psychology. The contribution of great Australian psychiatrist, Sigmund Fred, is a big one; according to him thinking, violent, aggressive, or sexually deviant acts should be seen as expressions of buried internal (psychic) conflicts that are the results of traumas or deprivations experienced during childhood. Fred divided the human mind in three parts namely 1. Id (an aspect of personality that is unconscious including the primitive and instinctual behaviours.) 2. Ego (the element of personality which enables the id to function in socially acceptable ways.) 3. Superego (that is the internal approach mind towards moral and social standards). Certainly the superego of a person or moral standard will depend upon so many factors as like his background, his family, his friends etc. If a person is from a good family then his/her moral standard will be high, but an issue of a anti-social parents will not have such a good character (speaking generally).
In very simple words we can say that many times the criminal behaviour is therefore the result of a failure of psychological development. In the childhood, the child learns so many things, and his internalized moral and social standards which guide his/her behaviour are conceived by him/her in childhood. In the childhood if proper social and psychological development is hindered then it may make him/her criminal in further life. Suppose, if the parents of a child are anti-social or criminals, then obviously it will motivate the child to be criminal. If a child was not grown in a proper social environment or proper care was not taken on the child or the relationship of the child is not good with the family members specially with the mother, then it will hinder the development of his capabilities to take a fair decision in the time of difficulty, frustration and he/she may commit crimes. Some other things as like peer group of the child, his school, and even T.V. and media may create criminal tendency in a child. At the time of the commission of a particular offence, there may be so many psychological factors behind it. Many times a person commits crime because of his internal feeling or disturbances; when we conceive things then feelings arise in our mind, and, those feelings may be pleasure giving or pain creating, now if those feelings are pain creating then those feelings may inspire a person to commit a crime for example A and B are colleagues, and B always performs better than A, then this situation may encourage A to assault or murder or harm B.
Now, if we go to the question that why do people commit crimes? The answer cannot be given in one word or sentence but certainly the reasons are hidden in psychology. When a person commits a crime then his immediate attention is on the crime not on the further consequences (except in the case of organized crimes). As like X hates Y, then he may assault or murder Y, but he will not think the further consequences that he (X) will get punishment, rather he will only think about the assuage of his feeling of hate. When a person is continuously under the influence of frustration, tension or under immediate anger then his reasoning power is reduced, and he is very prone to take a wrong decision or say to commit a crime. Uncontrolled anger, sexual desire etc things may also be the reason of the crime; as like in the case of uncontrolled sexual desire one may commit rape. Of course the moral character of a man does matter, which would be gained by him through his family, friends, relatives etc. So many times it is possible that the criminal tendency or aggressive nature may develop from family or friends. Many people may commit crime if they are poor to get money or other things.
There may be one other reason for the commission of a crime that is personality or mental disorders. The mental instability of person may fairly lead him/her to follow a sychopath, generally speaking people commit crime to fulfill some of their desire which cannot be fulfilled legally. By doing so they want to escape from the real world, at the time of the commission of the act they enjoy by realizing that their unconscious desires are fulfilled. So, at the time of commission of an act there are totally in a different state of mind, which is actually different from the normal or the real condition as like in the case of mental confusion. There may be two personality in the mind of the offender as like in the normal condition he may live as a vey innocent person, but at the time of the commission of the offence his mental state may be totally different, and he may commit brutal and heinous crime. The intelligence level of the offender, his/her self control on his anger and sexual urge, his capacity to bear frustration, his decision making power in tough times, his relationship with family members and the other world are some of the factor behind criminal tendency and commission of crime; the list not completed, there may be so, so many other factors.
The law has to be legitimately concerned with the psychological reasons behind the commission, it is essential for the prevention of any further happening of a crime by the same individual or other individuals as like. A psychological reason may also be a cause to reducing the sentence of a particular crime; we can take simple example as if an act is committed under the influence of anger, tension, frustration etc then the punished would be lighter than the punished for a organized crime or a crime which was committed in a normal stage of mind. In the jails also, in the western world, new developments are taking place, as like treatment programme for anger management or sexual arousal. Although in India such type of facilities are not available but still in jails different type of programmes, prayers are arranges which is certainly a good step. Ultimately, a crime may also be a sychological product, and when it is so we have to remind that what was said by Mahatama Gandhi, the father of nation, “Crime is the outcome of a diseased mind and jail must have an environment of hospital for treatment and care”.
Obvious, unless we go to psychology to find out the reasons of crime, we cannot get the solution or a proper crime prevention strategy and certainly from research of these two some new variable will come new theories will develop, and new solutions will come to prevent criminal and to prevent the development of criminal tendency.