A criminal is an adult who breaks the law in the society he or she is in. History shows that sometimes societies have laws which are not just so the line of being a criminal is not so clear. A just society has reasonable laws. It trains its people to follow the law for their own good and for the good of society. In turn there are few criminals.
People gathered in families and tribes in the early part of societies and the need to have mores to keep control was necessary for the group and to protect individuals. Individuals knew that to survive in their primitive environments they could not be alone but had to gather with others. This came with a price to follow mores or rules. Most adjusted well but some did not and were punished by the leaders in the tribe or cut off from the tribe altogether.
It is no different today! Societies have become very complex and so have laws but generally derive from The Ten Commandments. Judicial systems are sophisticated processes but basically ensure that there is a fair trial with an appropriate punishment. There are public and private prisons in the US. We have the largest population in prisons. The last statistics was that one person out of a hundred in America is in prison.
Most people follow the law naturally since we know what is right and wrong. Doing the right thing is what most people want to do. Yet, in every society there are few who do the wrong thing and generally it is against the law. Why?
Sociologists, psychologists, and criminologists continue to figure out why a person breaks a law. Sometimes they do but it is still against the law and the person has to be punished. Policemen and policewoman are in the fore -front of this defiance. They understand that the why is not as revelant as the fact that the law was broken. Society suffers and consequences are there for the criminals. They also know that a person is innocent until proven guilty; however, they have seen the crime and it is clear that the individuals involved are criminals.
Sometimes a person or persons are in the wrong place and the wrong time with the wrong people. Individuals may break the law but they never intended to do so. That is why we have a judicial system. On the other hand most who break the law intended to do just that.
The majority of people learn to follow the law at home. The family structure is the first place where human beings learn to respect and love others by following the rules of the family members. Dad and mom are the ones who have these invisible rules wich all children follow. Minor punishments are there if a family member does not follow them repeatedly. In a loving traditional family there usually isn't hardly any reason for punishments. Kids know that their parents and brothers and sisters love them and they love them back. They don't want to hurt them but please them so they do what others want and is best for them.
The family unit has broken down since the "50's" and crime has increased in our country. The fact is that many people never learned to follow the law at home. Law with love is natural for human beings but for the unloved law is unatural. It is something external and breaking it means harsh punishment. Law stops the unloved from doing what they want to do, when they want to do it, where the want to do it, and with whom. Law is in their mind the obstacle to freedom. They do not think of the punishment nor are they detered by it. They just do what they want to do but it is against the law.
Neighborhood reaffirmed in the past following the mores of society which is the law. Children were brought up to take care of property in and out of their homes. They were to play and stay in their yards as well as not go in another yard unless they had permission from their parents and from the neighbors. When they were there they were to not only follow the rules of their parents but also the rules of the people where they were. They were guests and most children obeyed naturally. The few who didn't were sent back home and were not allowed again.
The environments of both home and neighborhood were safe for kids in the "50's" and "60's" not to mention before that in America. There were some exceptions. In the "70's" it began to change since the family became weaker for many kids. More kids did what they wanted to do rather than what they were supposed to do.
School is the next environment where children are trained to follow the law. Even in the "60'" in our country the only thing we remembered kids doing was maybe talking in times we were to be silent or sometimes chewing gum. Boys and girls just did what they were supposed to do and what was best for them. This was in public schools not just private ones. Few ever thought of not obeying. Young people liked and respected their parents and teachers. Both were there to help them.
Teachers who taught in the "60's" and even in the "70's" did not even have to think about discipline. Kids wanted to learn and saw their teachers as people who cared about them and could teach them so much. Learning was fun and the natural thing to do in school. As long as teachers were prepared, organized, and were fair with the kids; almost all learned and obeyed.
Universities had rules in the dorms and while on campus during this time period. There was order and safety anywhere on campus. Communication and co-operation was there between parents and university staff. Parents felt very secure with their sons and daughters on campus. So did the students! Campus security was a non-issue. Those of us who attended universities during the "60's" and before never heard the word.
Crime in our country and in the world has increased because of the lack of sound family life for kids and the deteriation of schools. Discipline is totally out of hand in many homes and schools. Crime is happening right at home and in school. Young people are not safe many times neither at home or in school. Society therefore has become more and more unsafe since people just break the law. More and more have become criminals. They simply do what they want to do and have total disregard for the law even when they end up in jail. They just keep on coming back.
While most people want to do the right thing they become criminals since they never learned to follow rules, mores, and law. Society has trained them to break the law. Many people today would need a policeman or policewoman 24 hours a day to make sure they follow the law. No society can provide that so here we are in a lawless society. Everyone is in danger anywhere since many people don't care about following the law.
Some people become criminals in spite of the best of family life, school, or society. These individuals are much more complex and commit very serious crimes. Even when there is a just trial and it is proven that they broke the law, many do not see what they did was wrong nor do they show any remorse. No matter how violent their crimes may be they did it to fulfill some immediate need they had and will do it again. Even if the best of psychatrists figure it out, few can figure out how to control them nor can they guarantee that they will not do it again.
The individual and society have both a lot to do with the definition of a criminal. Society has the right to insist on and punish any individual who disobeys the law. The individual also has a right to be trained to obey law not just to be punished. Law is what binds all individuals in any society. Everyone needs to be trained to not only obey the law but to love the law. If every individual did that there would be no need for written law or the judicial system. There would be no criminals or need for prisons. That is a society we all should be born into.