There are no clearly-cut explanations for why an individual becomes a criminal. We suspect that violence in a family is one of many contributing factors, but we cannot guarantee that every child from a cruel family is destined to becoming an adult criminal. Family issues, mental specifics, socioeconomic environment, and peer pressure are the major factors that explain cruelty, and people with criminal inclination are subject to several or all of them.
All of the risk factors are quite predictable. As scientists have not found any particular genes that cause criminal behavior, the pressure of social environment comes in the spotlight. Poverty and negative family impacts usually come hand in hand, and criminologist may not even bother searching for more reasons behind one’s criminal nature. And that is how the surface factors mislead criminologists.
Another common factor widely associated with crime is a mental illness. Though the total number of people with mental illness is about 20 percent all over the US, they make up a majority of inmates in state and federal prisons. Though so many people with depression or dementia are more dangerous to themselves than to the society, the correlation between psychotic conditions and crime is undeniable.
Juvenile delinquency often comes as a result of peer pressure. Children are especially susceptible to provocations and tend to do before they think. It is not a rare case when parents of entirely healthy, disciplined, and kind children are reported that their child has been involved in some petty crime. Certainly, the peer pressure stimulates crime when no other factors can cause it.