PC: Harsh Punishments backfires in prison, Josh Mitchell/Photolibrary/Getty Images.

Crime is so destructive that not only the victims suffer, but the life of a criminal also undergoes tribulation, and society bears the disturbing news of witnessing it.

It appeals to think that harsh punishment can reduce crime rates. Some criminals are aware of the penalties, but they feel that they will not get caught. They believe this because our crime fighters are limited in number, so efficient vigilance is not always possible over a territory. They know that we have a delayed justice system, procedures are tedious, and thus it doesn’t inhibit wrong intentions. No lawbreaker looks in the law book for penalty or punishment. For some criminals, getting caught does not matter. Committing that particular crime is the only thing which matters to them at that time. They hear, see, feel nothing and have all their senses attached with the wrong intention. For such people, whose minds are so corrupt that there can be no reversal at all, harsh punishment is the way forward.

Some people commit crimes due to unsatisfactory conditions. If India becomes self-sufficient, these crimes will end. There are crimes which occur out of habit, for example, kleptomaniacs (habitual thieves). Such people need rehabilitation more than punishment to condition their mindset and steer it in the right direction. Still, they will get punished as it is in our system. There is varying nature of crimes, and so it cannot be generalized that only harsh punishments reduce crimes. If the justice system is prompt in serving justice, it will substantially reduce crime as it will instil fear in potential lawbreakers. Hence, possible future crimes could be curb to an extent.

We live in a civilized society, and we have a background of a culture which emphasizes the virtue of forgiveness. This virtue shows that humane methods of punishment do work in some cases. Not always do we need to resort to harsh ones. The people who turn into criminals are a part of society, and the reason to ‘why they become criminals when living in the same society’ is a matter of great concern. There must be a stress on moral education at all levels. If it is there, then perhaps crime will reduce.

Crimes cannot be forgiven, and the guilty must be punished, but it does not mean the same person will always remain a criminal. The rebellious lawbreaker inside that person must be eradicated, and a resolve to live non-violent, law-abiding life must be spurred. We must not hate the person but the filth inside the person that created a criminal. If only the person had an atmosphere where he could re-create himself into a better person, then there would be more hope. We see crimes through the eyes of hatred and often get blinded by it. Nobody is born good or bad; the upbringing, circumstance and mental conditioning make a person good or bad.

Enough has been spoken about reducing crime when we should have been making efforts to wipe out the cause that leads to the generation of the criminal mindset. In a developing country like India, millions are starving to death; many have plenty but lacks the moral sense; many think it is fun to commit a crime’ there are many who do it out of emotional outbreak. Some do it because they are situational criminals. If we believe in God, then we must believe in the law of karma. For every good, we will receive will, and for every bad, we will get the same. If we don’t believe in God, then we must believe in our consciousness; we must not think or do anything which makes us fall in our own eyes. Lastly, the solution may not lie in philosophical or even realistic discussions. But why wait for a crime to happen when we must put our energy and mind in churning out ways that eradicate the generation of thought that leads to crime. In a nutshell, harsher punishment might deter people from committing crime to a certain extent, but it is not the only solution. There are more efficient and effective ways to do so as well.