Yesterday, I wrote this comment on a post in another blog. I liked it, so I posted it here:
People just keep wanting simplistic answers to life's complex problems.
Back in the 70's it was all nurture, nurture, nurture.
Now, it's all nature, nature, nature.
I've long been an advocate of complex reasons behind complex results though with something like crime I come down much more squarely on the nurture side.
Do you want to create a criminal? Simple: send the child to a school where the building is deteriorating, where the student/teacher ratio is 30+/1, where the teachers, themselves, are uneducated, where parents are not recruited to be involved in their children's education.
When school lets out, put the children out on streets with no adult supervision and where the only role models are pimps, prostitutes and drug pushers. Make sure the only people with any real influence and money who look like them are the basketball players they see on TV. And don't explain to the children what the odds of growing up to be a professional basketball player are.
Sit back and allow the mix to ferment for 16 years or so.
Oh, one more thing: while you're waiting, build more and bigger prisons. You're going to need them.