When you see a broken chair, a sandal next to it, and drops of blood on the ground, you will think that a crime has been committed. Crime is part of life in a society and every one fears to be the victim. There is no one who has not seen a criminal scene or affected by it. People are kidnapped, killed or mugged, goods are smuggled, and items are stolen every day. The security staffs, who take preventive measures, around the city bespeak of probable crimes. Now the question is that can a society punish all criminals equally?
Throughout the history, the criminals were believed to be dominated by evil spirit and tortured painfully. Being suspected of a crime, they were treated violently without being proved guilty through legal process. There was no balance between crime and punishment. Perhaps, one was killed for committing a minor crime, but another was released despite committing a major crime. The main reason behind punishment, which is reforming the criminals, were turned blind eye and there was a sense of revenge.
On the other hand, some believed in “fatalism” and argued that they were fated to commit a crime. The Ancient Greeks were of the idea that a mysterious power controlled mankind and the wicked was subdued by “the Evil Spirit” and others were subject to “the Holy Spirit”. The criminals sought to justify themselves by this argument.
Denouncing the severe punishments, philosophers said that the criminals must not be tortured violently. According to them, social structure plays a crucial role in paving the ground for crimes. For instance, the graph of crime will be higher in the slums. The poor will show greater tendency towards crime so as to alleviate their economic pressures.
Gradually, attention was paid to the personality of the criminals. Based on Plato’s opinion, mankind shows natural tendency towards the good and struggles to play a positive role in the society. When a person commits crime, the society should not punish him/her cruelly but try to mend their behaviors.
Plato said that the state must reform and cure the criminals in particular institutions without violence and torture.
In 1879, a French scientist Topinard coined the term “criminology” which is formed of two Latin words “Crimen” means crime and “logic” means the scientific study. Crime is an act against the collective conscience in a society which triggers public reaction. Criminology, which has been included in the universities’ curricula, suggests that the state will have to focus on reforming the criminals and consider the human dignity of mankind. In other words, torturing the criminals will fill them with a sense of vengeance and put an adverse effect on them.
There are two significant schools of thought namely positivism and classism. Positivists believe that men’s nature is flexible and subject to social and environmental elements. The judiciary is an institution for curing the body and mind of criminals regardless of civil law. In another item, issuing a decree is indefinite and merely for mending the behaviors of criminals and criminals should be reformed for preventing the crime.
Based on classism, man is wise and self-ruling creature but shows inclination to pleasure. Therefore, man is morally responsible regarding his acts. It supports the idea of “social contract” saying that nation has submitted some of its authority to the state to have its rights and liberty protected in return. That is to say, man should be subject to law and will be punished in case of jeopardizing public interests.
To view deeply, there are many factors which force people into crime. For instance, the children who are born and bred in morally unsafe environment, where there are many criminals, they will acquire moral turpitude as a social value. They will hand down the same value to the next generation. It is said that a girl from a traditional family went to New Jersey and was tricked by a man. To save the honor of the family based on traditional society, her father killed the man. In a nutshell, environment and social and cultural structures will affect one’s personality to a great extent.
Now the state will have to approve a law to satisfy the need of a society and prevent from crime and corruption. A law must consider crime and punishment in a balanced manner and no act will be considered crime unless being already mentioned in the law. After all, human rights and dignity are to be paid great attention and punishment must have reformative purpose.
In addition, no one is supposed to be beyond law and committing crime with impunity will pave the path for further crimes. The judicial power needs to work honestly and implement the law which is approved by legislative power. Hence, to decrease the crime rate, a country must endorse an immaculate law and enforce it strictly. It goes without saying that people are free and there is no force behind committing crime. Believing in fatalism or committing a crime under one pretext or another, will not justify criminals. The nation and state must nurture mutual assistance to ensure the implementation of law and prevent from potential crime. The state is also to create a safe environment and promote a sound social structure for citizens so that they can promote their positive characteristic.