Different people show different emotions towards different things in society. The level of this emotion of empathy differs from one person to another. In an argument by Davis (1994) human beings are created in way that they show emotion on every aspect of the environment. The author further argues that what differs is the rate at which this empathy is expressed. For instance, it is a general assumption that women show a greater depth of empathy compared to women, women have deeper and much sensitive emotions. These differences are attributed to the psychological strength and capabilities of an individual. & (2009) argue that men are known to have a more psychological strength than females.
This enables them to control their emotions and feelings which are different when it comes to women. Another factor that influences the level of empathy in people is the environment they are exposed to. This is mostly rampant in children below the age 22 who have not yet acquired the much needed meant maturity. At this age the psychological and sociological aspects of an individual can be easily shaped and directed towards a specific direction. It is from this angle that offender and no offenders are distinguished. Psychologists argue that offenders have the weakest touch of empathy.
According to Jolliffe & Farrington (2004), voluntary offenders show very little signs of having emotions. The author further argues that this is not an act but a fact that exists in them as a natural feature. However, this point can be argued against as other analysts argue that offender do not suffer from weak empathy. They support their argument by stating that some offences are committed due to the influence of the environment towards them. For instance, if a homeless argue robs a food store the cause of this offence would be a desperate move to feed themselves (Jolliffe & Farrington, 2004) The author further argues that if this person is given proper life then they would live an offence free life. However, many serious offenders suffer from lack or very low empathy. This group of offenders includes rapist, murders, robbers and abductees. It is an obvious assumption that the above offenders lack the normal human touch.
In an argument by & (2009) empathy in a person is a part of their body and spirit that prevents them from doing harm to other people. He further argue that the relationship between empathy and human emotion shape the character of a person. Although many offenders may be seen as people with no empathy, the reaction towards emotion should be considered before judging them. This is because many offenders carry out offences due to the influential factor. This notion tries to bring out the fact that it is within the persons choice to choose to commit an offence or not. This explains that lack of empathy has nothing to do with the will to commit and offense. In a psychological review highlighted by Davis (1994) empathy and crime are related. The author argues that the process of committing an offence is built from a young age till maturity.
Lack of empathy or weak empathy is grown in an individual from a tender age. Upon maturity the individual feels the effects of lack of empathy and feels no remorse whatsoever when committing crime. The author justifies these assumptions by referring to a story on Tom Welling a 36 years old man convicted for the murder of his wife. Tom was raised in a troublesome family with constant fights between his parents. At the age of 7 he lost his mum to cancer. At this stage Tom was forced to start counseling classes as he was unable to concentrate in school and he became antisocial. Back at home he was left to live with his alcoholic dad who sometimes hit him when he was drunk. This made the situation even worse for Tom as he could not maintain any social relationship with anyone. At one time he assaulted one his friends over a slight disagreement. He later then started doing drugs that were easily available in school. In high school Tom was nothing close to a normal teenager as he was severally caught doing drugs or robbing someone on the streets. This kept home in and out of detention. His father on the other hand did anything to ensure to bail him or bribe him out of police cells and detention centers. Almost half of his life, Tom led this type of life. It was created in his psychology that nothing was a big deal and he was allowed to do anything with no or very minimal consequences. After marriage to Dian Johnson this character had not changed. Miss Johnson had for several times reported being abused by her husband but she loved him much and she always went back to her home. It was 2 years into this marriage when Tom Welling brutally killed his wife by strangling her to death. He later buried the body in their backyard. On discovery, he had little defense to make for himself as he accepted the charges. From the above narration one can clearly state Tom has no empathy whatsoever.
He has lost the touch of feeling and emotion (Rubin & Babbie, 2010): a touch that would ensure he does not indulge in certain activities. However, this character was build as process in him. From a tender age, he was exposed to a life of no remorse. His life with his drunken dad created a cruel character in Tom. From this scenario one could easily argue that offenders do not have empathy. & (2009) argue that regardless the causes of an offense an offender must have that little lack of empathy character, he further argue that in a normal person’s life with a strong empathy there is always a logic option apart from crime and offences. The psychology of a person is able the correct decision regardless of the case scenario.
A research highlighted by (Davis, 1994) shows that 7 out of ten offender serving jail terms of 25 years and above agreed to have lost their human touch. The same number argued that detention has don e less to ensure they have a change in character. It is wrong and inappropriate to compare the depth of empathy in offenders and non offenders. Even if a non-offender has low empathy, they have done as much to ensure that they control their emotion and maintain their psychological strength. This is evidence enough that non-offenders have that human touch and remorse that offenders lack. Many people convicted of rape are proven to have no empathy towards women.
In most cases they view a woman more of an object than a person. This has made them the respect and attention towards women. According to Eisenberg & Strayer (1987) rapists are capable of doing any crime if an opportunity presents itself. In most rape cases the offender kills their victim. This shows how much psychological and mental disturbed these offenders are. & (2009) argue that only a person above human emotion is capable of committing such an act of brutality. In most rape sentences offenders have not denied the charges while some sarcastically applauded their crime. This evidence of how much offenders disregard the emotion and feelings human hold. In words by Warden & Mackinnon (2003) such offenders have psychological influences that reduce their reaction towards human emotion. This fact has been reiterated by Miller & Eisenberg (1988) who argue that a person convicted for rape or first degree murder has more than just the will to commit to crime.
In analyzing most crime, police dwell a bit on the past of a person. This is done to explain whether or not the crime committed by someone has ever happened before or there is a significant influence from their past. In some cases offenders have been accused of killing and animal in their past. This assumption is significant especially when the animal killed is a pet. This shows on how much cruel a person may be. According to Davies (1994) 8 out of 10 offenders convicted for murder have been accused of killing pet at one point of their life. This is evidence that offenders shoe less empathy than non-offenders. As much as offenders are said to have less empathy, there are some cases that offenders commit crime due to the depth of empathy they have. For instance, Jamal was arrested for robbery in which one of his counterparts shot a store owner. In his trial it was discovered that Jamal was an orphan with other four siblings. He was the sole bread winner of his family and he had no education whatsoever. His indulgence in crime was a sign of how much devoted he was in ensuring his siblings had something to eat. His sentence was very minimal as the judge argued his actions were forced by a situation and he did not fire the shot that killed the store keeper (Rubin & Babbie, 2010)
As much there are psychologist who relate to crime committed by a person to their past of life, the fact that offenders have low empathy has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. This mainly applies to offenders charged with murder or rape. Non-offenders cannot be compared to this type of offenders. The depth at which these offenders have allegiance to crime cannot be compared to the psychology and empathy of a non-offender. Offenders have poor social and human relationships which was a factor when detentions were established. In an offender’s mind, nothing else matters apart from the fact that they have to survive regardless of the harm they cause on other humans. This is an assumption that would lead to a final argument that offender show less empathy than non-offenders.
Davis, M.H. (1994), Empathy: A social psychological approach. Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Communications
Eisenberg, N., Strayer, J. (1987), Empathy and its development, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
Jolliffe, D., Farrington, D.P. (2004), Empathy and offending. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, Vol. 9, pp. 441 — 476
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Miller P.A. & Eisenberg, N. (1988). The relationship of empathy to aggressive and externalizing/antisocial behavior, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 103, pp. 324 — 344.
, A. & , E. (2010). . New York: Cengage Learning
Warden D. & Mackinnon, S. (2003), Prosocial children, bullies and victims: an investigation of their sociometric status, empathy and social problem-solving strategies, British Journal of Developmental Psychology, Vol. 21, 367 – 385