I'm not a sociologist, criminologist or behaviorist of any kind. Most of my criminal knowledge is based exclusively on Law and Order SUV reruns and Bones. In spite of this utter lack of training, I'm going to postulate that some acts of wrongdoing are done simply for kicks.
I'm offering my nearly 2.5 old daughter to explain the high rate of recidivism in this country. Why do criminals do the same things over and over again when they get caught time and time again? Why does my daughter, who hates timeouts and constantly points out the bad behavior of other kids in books and at the parks, slap, pinch and pull my hair when she knows that each offense incurs a two minute timeout? Bean acts up when she's tired or hungry. Perhaps criminals are just overtired, cranky and hungry too?
Now, bear with me. Bean is a darling, a joy, constant source of hugs, kisses and cuddles and then a naughty switch goes off in her head. And then she will look me straight in the eye and slap my face with a look of sheer glee on her face. She knows what she did was wrong, and then she will taunt me with her delicate little hand just close enough to my face for another slap and then she pulls it back and asks in the tiniest, most sarcastic voice a child can muster and say "I get timeout now?" At which point, I want to go ballistic and shout irrationally at my two year old, "YOU DON'T GET TO TELL ME WHEN TO GIVE YOU A TIMEOUT!" And then I make her sit there and apologize which she dutifully does only to follow this up in five minutes by either pulling my hair or pinching me.
I don't know where she gets it. I certainly don't go around hitting or pulling people's hair. She doesn't watch TV other than Sesame Street and even that is restricted. Is it innate? This desire to test limits and see what you can and cannot get away with? I know I don't have the backbone for any kind of criminal activity. I recently got pulled over for a minor traffic violation and I was literally shaking while talking to the police. I also believe wholeheartedly that if I ever did commit a crime, I would confess immediately and accept my punishment willingly. The guilt alone would kill me.
Bean's crimes are really minor infractions and I really don't think she's going to become a criminal mastermind. She's knows what she's doing is wrong and does it anyway . She's infuriated by timeouts and yet sometimes gives her own toys timeouts. I know she's just being a kid. She's testing her limits. She is doing everything a normal two-year old should do.
Just in case though, I'm just going to make sure that she gets more sleep to prevent any further jabs at my face.