Should the criminal justice system focus more on rehabilitation? ( Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time)

Scene one: A teenage girl is walking home in the evening. She is suddenly attacked by four vicious men who rape her, one after the other. After their evil satisfaction, they dump her in a bush and leave her for dead.
Ivan R. Mugisha
Ivan R. Mugisha

Scene one: A teenage girl is walking home in the evening. She is suddenly attacked by four vicious men who rape her, one after the other. After their evil satisfaction, they dump her in a bush and leave her for dead.

Scene two: A mother, father and their two children are having dinner when unexpectedly, armed robbers burst into their home. The robbers shoot around and steal everything they can. When they finally leave, the kids discover that both their parents were killed in the gunfire.

Three weeks later after coarse investigations, both the rapists and the armed robbers are nabbed by police and taken for trial.

In the court sessions however, the molested girl and the two kids watch in horror as their adversaries are not imprisoned for life but instead taken to a rehabilitation centre where they will respectively be educated on how-not-to-rape and how-not-to-kill.

After passing their tests and pledging allegiance to morality, these jolly men are finally ushered back in society with the uttermost confidence by the justice system, that unlike their brutal past, they are now clean useful statesmen.

The above is a simple narration of how a cyclical wave of crime and violence can be amplified in any given society if rehabilitation is sought before punishment. Nobody would be surprised if those men were later found dead, murdered by unknown assailants. I bet even their mothers would believe that they deserved it.

The easiest theory on earth is – people need to avenge in order to get peace of mind. Therefore, when the government fails to punish criminals, the molested take matters in their own hands and seek for revenge.

It then ceases to be about justice but rather, an eye for an eye, which if left in the hands of people, can escalate violence to uncontrollable measures where everyone involved starts to react regardless of who started it all. To appreciate punishment, we must first understand why it exists in the first place. Firstly, it’s only through punishment, not rehabilitation, that people can be scared of breaking the law. Although it cannot bring the dead back to life, punishment inflicts pain and suffering on the criminals – and this builds a sense of satisfaction on the aggrieved. Rehabilitation isn’t meant for first degree criminals. That’s why it would be disastrous, if not an offense to society, if murderers began to walk the streets, one by one; as if from their rehabilitation they learnt how to recreate the lives they took!

Rehabilitation should be a service offered to juvenile criminals, drug addicts or petty thieves, or those who voluntarily seek for counseling services – not murderers or rapists.

@RushAfrican on Twitter

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News