Crime and the family: like grandfather, like father, like son?

Nathan Gregory (Gloucestershire Partnership NHS Trust)

The British Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 1463-6646

Publication date: 1 December 2004


The phenomenon of criminal behaviour has interested scholars from academic disciplines building on centuries of philosophical debate developed from emerging biological, psychological and social sciences. Criminological theories of causation are embedded in conceptual networks that link political ideology classified by philosophical underpinnings. For example, the late 18th and early 19th century utilitarianism consensus classical theory supported the notion of free will, suggesting that individuals were likely to commit crime if the pay‐off were greater than the retribution. In contrast, conflict marxist and radical criminology regarded crime as a function of poverty, reflecting a power imbalance in society. The late 19th century saw the emergence of the positivist school, which argued that factors including genetics, poverty, personality and the family were important in determining criminality. This article concentrates on the transmission of crime through families by reviewing a selection of the main studies in the area.


Gregory, N. (2004), "Crime and the family: like grandfather, like father, like son?", The British Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 32-36.

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