The topic says that the only way to reduce crime is to increase the severity of punishments; ostensibly, the argument sounds good, suggesting that severe punishments would deter people from committing crime; but to make the argument convincing we have to answer the question: should or should not the severity of the punishment commensurate with the severity of the crime? What sort of severe punishment can we think of for a crime that is as trivial as a minor theft? If severe punishment is a society’s answer for all criminal activities, then what about rehabilitating criminals, with the intention of making them better citizens? So, on the one hand we want to be just, and I think a harsh punishment for a minor crime would not be a just verdict; and, also, we talk of rehabilitating criminals by giving them the right environment; and a severe punishment for a minor crime would never create a right rehabilitating environment. Paradoxically, on the other hand, we want to reduce crime by increasing the severity of punishments. How can these two aims go hand in hand? Moreover, will severe punishments root out all criminal activities and make society crime free? The last question, perhaps, needs the greatest attention
I get a feeling that just as distributing money among the poor will not eradicate poverty, so increasing the severity of punishments may not reduce crime in any society.
Looking at the questions raised above, I get a feeling that just as distributing money among the poor will not eradicate poverty, so increasing the severity of punishments may not reduce crime in any society. To eradicate poverty, economists would suggest economic measures and solutions that would eradicate poverty from its very root; similarly, to reduce crime, social scientists and psychologists would not recommend severe punishments; instead, they too would wish to nip a thing like crime right in the bud.
According to me, people commit crime in a rage of passion, or because of mental instability, or because of their disturbed childhood, or because of some reason or circumstance that is not entirely in their control. The practical way to reduce crime would be by creating a civilized social environment in which we are able to sublimate the destructive tendencies of children or even adults. We must provide the right sort of education, a kind of education that focuses not only on the mental development of children but also on their moral, emotional and spiritual development. This kind of education would make better citizens, citizens who are responsible not only for themselves but also for people around them. We must also ensure that parents are counselled on how to raise children such that there is a harmonious development of the mind, body and spirit. After all, children don’t spend time just in schools; much of their time is spent with parents, whom they imitate and whose habits they start picking unconsciously from a very young age.
I believe that crime is a social phenomenon, and no social phenomenon can be reduced or eradicated just by one entity, or by one extreme step. To reduce crime, not only there must be a just law in place but also there should be contribution from each and every institution, such as the media and the corporate, the schools, who must come together and put in their best efforts to wipe out this malaise.