The home is the main institution for human development. A baby, when it is born, cannot be said to be a law-abiding child or a law-breaking child. His family is the first agency to lead him in any of the above directions. From a warm, loving, stable and disciplined family, the child learns the positive as adjusted in society. While, the cold, desperate, rejected or neglectful family develops hostility, mistrust or outright hatred of people.
Homes that produce delinquent children are often characterized by one or more of the following conditions: –
- Other members of the family criminalistics, immoral or alcoholic – death or divorce or desertion.
- Lack of parental control through ignorance, blindness, illness etc.
- Unfriendly family relations as evidenced by domination by one member, favoritism, caring, severity, neglect, jealousy, overcrowding and housing conditions.
- Racial or religious differences, foster homes and institutional homes.
- Economic problems such as unemployment, insufficient income, etc.
After an in-depth study of the family histories of a number of offenders, Donald Taft described the following generalizations which are significant from standpoint of crime causation: –
- Mobility among criminals is much greater than that of non-criminals. In other words, delinquents change places more frequently than law-abiding citizens.
- Offenders often prefer to stay away from their parents and home.
- The homes of offenders are often poorly maintained, unsanitary and display a poor standard of living.
- The family life of the most delinquent is generally disrupted and their parents are deceased, separated or divorced.
- Experience has shown that most offenders are subjected to physical punishment by parents in their childhood. Hence, they hardly show respect for their family members.
- A large percentage of criminals are generally hostile and indifferent towards their siblings.
- Offenders are encouraged to follow crime in their homes in one of the following ways: –
- Parents may not themselves be associated with a criminal act, but they may deliberately avoid preventing their children from engaging in criminal acts.
- Children can learn criminal patterns through the imitation process. They begin to learn similar behavior from their parents.
- Parents who have adopted crime as a way of life like those of professional thieves, prostitutes etc. often train their children for the crime.