Incarceration: Is prison a suitable punishment

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Syed Tariq Ali Shah

While googling something, I came through the world’s most socially advanced, peaceful and well developed counties and interestingly found United States of America (USA) in the list as well. In current century, the only country could be called as developed and peaceful if crime rate is found very less there. Before moving ahead, let’s take an overview of the History of Incarceration in the USA. Basically, according to law, an arrest is to deprive somebody of his/her freedom of movement and liberty. Now Coming to the point, America has a hafty prison problem since history. Where 2 million individuals face american jail and the cost which they take is 80 plus billion dollars out of the country’s annual budget and is known as world’s leading jail having extensive population in jail, on the planet. In fact, not only in America but while concentrating on the whole world we’ll come to know that keeping people behind the bars for lengthy period now has became the goal of the justice system. Just as an example, in America, A gentleman, Andrade was sentenced to life imprisonment for stealing 9 childrens video tapes and the tapes were worth one hundred and fifty three dollars. Sentences like these fill the prisons for decades, even  for minor crimes. Surprisingly, between 1972 and 2000, the population in Jail increased from 3 thousand to 2 million, which is beyond every Ken. Before that period, numbers of people in Jail was stable not that much alarming. You’ll be taken aback that this could be the entire population of the state Cenzuk. We simply remove people from society and imprison them for even minor offences which fill our jails for a long time and cost too much of the budget as well. Furthermore, In Pakistan, there are more than 77000 prisoners imprisoned in 104 jails of Pakistan. In fact, we do not have that capacity yet our jails are overcrowded. Marely 25000 of these 77000 are convicted or culprits and remaining nearly 52000 are under trial prisoners. Who are wasting precious years of their lives just because no judge has punished them and so are kept on the ground of suspicion. Apparently, the conviction rate in pakistan, is some 10%, means at the moment, as mentioned earlier, there are more than 52000 prisoners, and most of them would be released from Jail with honor by the Court. Apart, the years they spent in trauma, pain and melancholy, won’t be compansated ever and at all. While discussing the concept of bail, section 496-97 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) talk about, whether the offender would be released on bail or not, this whole setup stands and depends on the ground of Charge levied against him. If the indictment against offender provide punishment less than 3 years, he’ll be granted bail and in case, if the punishment exceeds 3 years to 10 years, yet he may be granted the bail, provided that, he, after being given bail does not have any impact on investigation team and witnesses declaring him an offender. Every offender is not necessary to be sent to Jail. Those, who have committed an offence very first time may be awarded community service punishment. Because, Punishment loses its horroronce the criminalis punished. The more cruel punishment become,the more humanminds hardened,adjusting themselves,likefluids,to thelevel of objects around them. Therefore,the object ofpunishmentshouldbethereformoftheoffender.Hemayhavecommittedacrimeundercircumstanceswhichmightneveroccuragain. The object of punishment should be to bring about the moral reform of the offender. Instead of confining him for nothing, He must be educated and taught some artor industry during the period of his imprisonmentsothathemaybeabletostarthislifeagainafterhisreleasefromjail.Eventhecruelhardenedprisonerscanbereformedandconvertedintohelpfulfriendsbygoodwordsandmildsuggestions. Awarding Seve re punishment or putting them be hind the bar scarcely debase them. Because,manal way slicks against pricks,whipping will make him balk. Threat will resulti resistance. In Pakistan, since 1926, there is a law discussing parole, and according to the same law, any wrongdoer who has completed 1/3rd of his sentence, reserves right to be released on parole. And the Provincial govt ought to consider offender’s application. It further elaborates that if a convicted in jail, behaved nicely and gently, may be released after completing the above mentioned period on some conditions; he will work for a amelioration of the society. To conclude, the jails should be reformed, there must be cost for delaying one’s case. It should be something like when a case is adjourned time and again, should be dealt with fine so that all remaining prosecutions come to an end quickly. Surprisingly, there are 58 hearings of the case, in the honourable Supreme Court SC to give justice which seems strange, sad and grotesque simultaneously. And the custom of wasting an innocents life in prison and in the end to release him just because no allegations have been proved, should be end as well. A victim when alleged, becomes nervous and mentally disturbed, sells everything he posses; home, property, savings in order to pay the fee of his advocate and lastly court acquits him easily without any compansation for what he’s lost and trauma he endured. This practice needs to be deleted from our judicial system and the honourable Supreme Court and government need to establish some special courts so that the remaining cases are dealt accordingly and quickly.