Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, May 1st, 2017

Time to Improve the Prisons

There are many issues in the country that lack sufficient attention of authorities and, therefore, are responsible for persistent troubles for the country as a whole. Among these issues, the situation of law and order and the justice system to guard the same is one of the most dominant ones. A justice system should be able to provide timely justice to the people of a country and at the same time it must make efforts to amend the behavior of the people so that they are make a positive part of the society. Unfortunately, the justice system in Afghanistan has been lacking the capacity to do so.

Though there are many areas within the system that can be identified as real trouble, the condition of the confinements where the criminals are held is the most dominant one. Jails within Afghanistan are not developed on modern basis; neither they are able to create an atmosphere where the criminals may be changed for better. In fact, many cases have shown that the environment within the jails is conducive for the crimes to multiply and for the criminals to worsen further. With such a situation in hand it is very difficult to expect that the punishment being given to the criminals would mean something positive.

Recently, a news report highlighted that the prisoners at the Pul-i-Charkhi jail on the eastern outskirts of central capital Kabul have been denying food, as they have started a hunger strike against the conditions that prevail there. It is not the first time that the prisoners within the jail have criticized the conditions within the jail. Last year a group of female prisoners set fire within the jail because of the conditions that were made to live in. Several human rights groups have also complained about the substandard environment that is maintained within the prison. It is really important that there should be serious notice of the conditions that prevail in the prison and Afghan authorities must make sure that they are able to play their part to change the scenario; otherwise, the prison may turn into a factory of crimes and criminals; instead of playing any role to stop crime.

According to the Holy Qur'an; "All sins can be wiped away by good deeds and repentance, except the sin of disbelief in the reality of the ideal, which contradicts belief in itself”. It is very unfortunate that in our modern society, criminals are dealt or treated like dogs. Their power of resistance is broken by solitary confinement and unhealthy atmosphere, and naturally when they come out of the prison, they are quite unfit to cope with life. Their will-power is broken and they easily succumb to temptation. Therefore, it is the basic need of the society to find out ways and means to rehabilitate such people to an honorable place in the society so that they may become, useful citizens and show repentance over their past punishment.

Society uses prison as a means of preventing its members from violating both its formal and its written laws, although its confidence in the effectiveness of this technique is not great. There is little enough justification for confidence, for time and again the threat of punishment has failed to keep the members of society in line. Another and unfortunate characteristic of punishment is that often it tells the victims only what not to do but does not tell what to do. It does not build up by the process of reinforcement of a strong positive way of reacting. It builds up only an avoidance of a certain way of acting. These are some of the possible reasons why punishment may be ineffective. Prisons, therefore, must change the whole concept of punishment. It must have make it effective in changing the overall outlook of the criminals towards life. Moreover, it must be directed towards the action of the person, not his nature or his personality.

The prisons, 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.