The debate whether developmental disabilities are a cause of criminal behavior has been ongoing for some time now. Developmental disabilities make it difficult for individuals to learn, think critically, and understand social cues. This can lead to inappropriate behaviors as well as difficulties in communication and understanding consequences (Cheng & Chan, 2018). Yet the issue is complex and far from settled; research has offered both support for and opposition against the idea that individuals with developmental disabilities are more likely to engage in criminal behavior.
Proponents of the argument suggest that there may be a link between certain types of developmental disabilities and offending behavior due to several differences in cognitive functioning (Viljoen et al., 2017). These include deficits in executive functioning such as problem-solving abilities, self-regulation skills, memory recall, planning ability, impulse control as well as difficulty recognizing abstract concepts like consequence or morality (Viljoen et al., 2017). In addition, people with developmental disabilities often have difficulty controlling their emotions which can result in acting out aggressively or violently when faced with challenging situations (Reed & Kahnemayer-Steinhardthausen, 2015). Furthermore they can struggle to express themselves fluently leading them to communicate nonverbally through physical aggression instead. These factors all contribute to an increased risk of involving oneself in criminal activities due to impaired decision making skills caused by impairments related to their disability(Lane et al., 2016).
Analyze whether developmental disabilities are a cause of criminal behavior.
However there is also evidence opposing this position; research suggests that despite difficulties associated with their disability many individuals with intellectual impairments still possess moral judgment capabilities allowing them to determine what behaviour is appropriate or not based on societal norms even if they may not fully understand why certain behaviours are wrong (Viljoen et al., 2017). Other studies have shown that although people with intellectual impairment do engage in more challenging behaviour than those without these challenges this does not necessarily translate into engaging in illegal activity directly linked a lack of understanding surrounding rules or potential consequences; rather these behaviours may arise because someone becomes angry/frustrated at perceived injustices or unfairness toward themselves resulting from circumstances beyond their control such as discrimination or systemic inequalities faced by those living with disability (Barker et al., 2019). Therefore it could be argued that criminality among those living with intellectual impairment would be better explained within its wider context rather than simply attributing it solely towards their disability itself.
In conclusion while there is evidence supporting the notion that some individuals who live with intellectual impairments may sometimes act out criminally due reasons connected directly/indirectly to their condition there are other equally valid explanations which cannot be excluded either. For instance contextual variables such as structural inequality experienced by disabled communities might play an important role causing anti-social behaviour too thus emphasising the need for further investigation regarding any connection between developmentally disabled persons and crime before reaching any final conclusions about the subject matter altogether .