Risks for developing criminal behavior

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Read the following scenario and discuss Sam’s risks for developing criminal behavior based on your knowledge of the biological, learning and situational factors. Please use and cite your text, at least one professional journal article, and at least one other professional or government source (which can also be a journal article).

An 11-year-old male, Sam, is growing up in a public housing project. He is being raised by his authoritarian maternal grandmother and his permissive/laissez faire, alcoholic and crack-addicted mother. He has four siblings fathered by two different men, one of whom shook Sam when he was five months old, causing him to be hospitalized for brain swelling. Sam’s mother used drugs and alcohol while she was pregnant with Sam, and he was born six weeks premature. He is considered slow-to-warm up, is good in school and likes attending, but others in the project tease him for being a sissy. The neighborhood has opposing criminal street gangs who fight for the territory to sell drugs. One particular gang member is older and takes the time to talk with Sam and protect him from neighborhood bullies and other gang members. Sam has the typical pubescent male urges, and the older gang members introduce Sam to other gang members and even girls who associate with the gang. Sam can even borrow money from the gang. His grandmother never has money to lend, but the gang does because of its lucrative illicit drug-selling. Sam is starting to spend more time with the gang, and therefore he is not spending time studying. His school behavior is starting to suffer. Sam sees the respect given other gang members as they sell drugs, fight with the other gang, and fight with the police. The older gang member who has protected Sam asks him to occasionally carry a handgun because the older member cannot get caught with a gun again or he’ll go back to prison. Sam agrees to carry the gun.

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