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Assassinating the assassin

I am writing nothing new, many of the eminent writers have written and are going to write on the life of the criminals, the aftermaths of crime and the list of the topics are ever ending, many of the readers have culled out such writings in order to win fabulous prizes in various competitions.

A thing may be that I should write on "Living with the assassin". Despite knowing that the husband is an assassin, how is the wife able to cope a normal life and prove to be a homemaker. How are the children of the assassins treated in the world and many such questions now and then striking in our mind?
Are the assassins who show remorse for what they did, treated as normal humans after their retributive sentence by the laws are over?

Like in the case of Nalini Murugan (the “accused no. 1” in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case); in between serving a prison term and fighting a legal battle for an entry permit into India for her daughter, Megara (15), Nalini, a graduate before she was convicted as the ‘back-up human bomb in the event of Dhanu failing in her mission‘, has been pursuing her MCA studies at the special camp for women in the Vellore prison.

Nalini and her husband (Sriharan alias Murugan), are pursuing their Master’s in Computer Applications from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). The counselor rated Murugan, as the “most brilliant” student. “Murugan has got very high scores so far. I have not seen such high scores even in the case of students outside,” said Srinivasan the IGNOU Consellor, running his eyes through the marks sheet available on the IGNOU website.

Despite accepting Murugan's and his wife Nalini's excellent intellect and the fact that they both are now MCA, will the world respect them as computer engineers or will the credence of the world still treat them as social stigmas?

We all have a pragmatic vision to seek and see justice done. Throughout history and in many places around the world today, individuals take the need to chastise those who have committed crimes into their own hands. The societies that practice vigilante justice do so because there is no central system to deliver justice for them, or if there is, it is corrupt and worthless. In our society we believe all criminals should have the right to a fair trial before paying for their crimes. We also believe that punishment should be proportional to a crime. For these reasons we collectively entrust the responsibility of sentencing and retribution to our government institutions.

Our society has enabled our government to carry out the task of administering retribution on behalf of its citizens. Why then has the principle of retribution fallen by the wayside in determining appropriate sentences? Sentencing for the sake of retribution has lost all clout, brushed aside as a primitive instinct. In reality, this innate desire to see criminals pay a price for their crimes is central to our humanity. It is a justifiable objective in sentencing. Is it being delivered? A quick glance at our present system tells us it is not.

Specific deterrence is the idea that a sentence will keep the offender in question from re-offending. General deterrence is the idea that tough sentencing will dissuade future law-breakers.

The first and foremost step in retribution system is to rehabilitate the criminals in the society in order to reduce the recidivism present in them to zero.

We mostly hear about the huge number of rehabilitation programs but seldom do we hear about the results these programs produce.
Sympathizing with a criminal in the prison visiting room is like sympathizing with the deadliest beast caged inside its bars at the Zoo. Its safe enough there, but you don’t want to meet either of them in their natural habitat. Molestation in childhood, poverty and discrimination- something twisted in their brains. What kept them from being a normal human being? For them criminality then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But the decision to change, to do the right thing, ultimately comes from within. A soldier bonded to his peer group would fight valiantly on their behalf when he might have given up if he was alone on the battlefield.

You can reason with a criminal, particularly a professional criminal, who is the ultimate pragmatist. The implicit statement when a criminal is taken at gunpoint is, ‘cease your assaulting behavior or die.’

This does not work for the religiously as opposed to politically motivated terrorist. The religious fanatic who practices terrorism cannot be reasoned with, because there is nothing you can threaten him with, and no alternative you can offer him that is more palatable than his genuine belief that if he dies fighting you, he will be greatly rewarded in afterlife. Only swift and extreme force can stop him.

Plainly we do know what the problem is; the offender's anti-social behavior but we have only the faintest idea of how to correct the problem. The current rehabilitative efforts had no appreciable effect on recidivism.

All the criminals need an identity shift when released again in the society. After conducting further research, studies in several prisons have indicated that recidivism rates have declined where inmates have received an appropriate education helping their social skills, artistic development. This same study provided a critical analysis that showed that; a program’s success or failure is hampered by values and attitudes of those in the authority position, over crowded prison population conditions and inadequate funding for teaching personnel, supplies and materials

As per these studies it is highly apparent that given the right attitude by personnel and a dedicated effort by those in authority, along with points made in this previous study, educational rehabilitation effects on criminal recidivism shows a positive correlations in terms of reduction.

The rehabilitation program should help connect people released from prison and jail to mental health and substance abuse treatment, expand job training and placement services and facilitate transitional housing and case management services.

In conclusion, educational rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment programs and the family all must unite in the previously incarcerated person's life to assist him or her in getting back on or starting the right path. That path is a crime free, employed, and engaged citizen, father and/or leader in the family and community.

Now, I am not saying that all criminals, given the right opportunities and support, will become industrious members of society. But effective rehabilitation programs are surely going to act as a sight for sore eyes for the despairs of all the delinquents.

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Devendra Lingwal

Devendra Lingwal

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A result oriented writer with a flair to write for books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and web publications for technical, business, and general audiences. Able to conceive, design, plan, and manage all phases of editorial projects; not afraid to dig in and create any single editorial element or group of elements. That's me:

As a Citizen Journalist have won awards for 4 of my articles, ‘Time to have a re-look at blacklisted sikhs’, ‘Killing for honour kills human honour’, ‘Gandhi, youth and globalisation’ and ‘Growing pains of the youth’ as the 'best articles'.


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