Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, June 25th, 2024

Prisons Must Transform Criminals

The law and order system in every country is meant to serve justice to its people. It is meant to stop crimes, decrease and discourage them. If the system is not able to do so, it can be termed as incapable and insufficient.

One of the basic concepts used in the system is that of punishment. It is believed that punishment can stop the crime and can transform a criminal into a better person. Though it is a widely practiced concept, it is not always true.

There are certain preconditions that are necessary before a system of law and order is able to perform at its best and can serve its purpose. It can both prevent and decrease crimes within the society if it is able to act quickly, justly and without biasness and favoritism. Swift justice provided to the people without much disturbance and effort can make the people believe in the system and at the same time can make the culprits believe that they can never escape the punishment.

One of the reasons why criminals and culprits keep on committing crime is the confidence that the law and order system does not have the capacity to stop them or hold them accountable to their deeds. At the same time, it also makes the victims believe that as the system is not able to provide them timely and deserving justice, therefore, they have to adopt other ways of finding it. Resultantly, they also opt for unlawful options and, themselves, increase the crimes and evils.

At the same time, the law and order system must not serve a particular class or group of people; rather it should be for the service of all the citizens within a country. Unfortunately, in many countries of the world, the law and order system basically serve the rich and ruling people. The whole mechanism becomes their servant and justice, in such cases, becomes what they will and demand. The poor people on the other hand keep on knocking the door but they never receive any answer from the system and thus remain deprived of true justice.

Apart from being efficient, just and unbiased, it is also important that the system must be humane and strive to deal with the criminals based on modern concepts and studies. In order to make the prison system useful, it is really vital to develop it as per the modern thinking. The basic purpose of the prison must not only be to confine the criminals and punish them but to transform them into better human beings.

However, it can be noticed that in most of the prisons, human beings are tortured frequently, they are disgraced and kept in the most unfavorable conditions. What they learn from all these experiences is nothing except further violence and revenge. Their revenge takes the form of further violence and crime within the society.

Unfortunately, our country Afghanistan is one of the countries where the prison and punishment system is in a pathetic condition. Prisons are the centers where the criminals are further nourished and, in fact, they become more popular and skillful in their activities after they leave the prison. Neither, the facilities provided in the detention centers are satisfactory, nor there are activities that can support the detainees to have better social lives.

A recent piece of news in Pajhwok Afghan News highlighted that in the central jail in Kapisa province, the prisoners suffer under unhygienic conditions in crowded cells. The prison in the provincial capital is basically run in a rented building, wherein there is capacity for four people in each room but actually there are around 15 prisons compensated. The detainees claim that most of the prisoners get sick due to overcrowded rooms, wet conditions, pools of water during winter and lack of proper toilets. Though promised several times, the prisoners are yet to see better conditions and facilities.

Keeping such conditions in mind, can it be said that our detention centers can transform our criminals into better human beings? In fact, they would further deteriorate the situation. Henry Thomas Buckle had said, “Society prepares crime and criminal commits it,” which means that most of the crimes are committed by the criminals because of their social position or the compulsion, conditioning and the pressures of society. If provided with better opportunities and social conditions, the criminals can be less motivated towards crime and thus the chances of crimes are decreased to a large extent.

The detentions centers, therefore, must have a comprehensive strategy and modern techniques of dealing with the criminals. The criminals must start believing that they have committed something wrong and that there are alternative ways of living life, as well. There should be group activities, encouraging the prisoners to become better and useful part of social life. They should be trained in the skills of their choice, so that after coming out they can find some work to support them financially. There should be better health and hygiene facilities for them so that they should not be sick and does not become burdens on society. It should be noted that the way prisoners are treated in the prisons, in the similar fashion they will react to the society after the come out. Therefore, it should be ensured that they have healthy and positive experiences so that they can reflect the same from their attitude in the outside world.