[...] Most of us do not commit crimes, because we think it's wrong to do so: we acquire the conscience that helps us separate right from wrong during childhood.
If early upbringing fails, then crime tends to become more likely. As one government survey found, 27 per cent of prison inmates had been in care and 47 per cent had run away from home as a child, suggesting a strong link between crime and family instability.
Home Office studies have also repeatedly found that having only one parent, or having step-parents, increases the risk of crime. If there were less family breakdown, there would be less crime.
We have become squeamish about linking crime to family breakdown, because it is said to make a scapegoat of lone parents or to be too judgmental about lifestyle choices.
Whatever these qualms, there is no getting away from the fact that children are more likely to stay away from crime and to lead fuller lives if both their biological parents are committed to their well-being during the two decades it takes to grow up. Read more