To the Editor
Rehabilitate, don't punish
I've been thinking recently about the nature of crime and punishment, and particularly the moral justification behind mass incarceration. What benefit is it to society to sequester those who break certain laws in awful concrete boxes? Surely it would prove cheaper to train these (generally desperate) people into trades where they could contribute to society in a meaningful way.
And what of the persons who have broken the law, are they not also members of society? Our desire to punish is a reaction of fear and anger; we seek vengeance when we ought to react with compassion – we punish what we ought to have prevented.
I question whether we are good enough to forgive the transgressions of our most vulnerable, and to show kindness to those of us who need it most. I wonder why we take more offence to a singular criminal action of a person in poverty then we do to the fact that one of us may have lived in that poverty their entire life. Invest the time and money in productive use of convicts' time, true correction instead of punishment, and you'll save a massive amount of money. Teach them something useful and the crime rate will continue to plummet. We need to stop making things unpleasant for those convicted of crime, and start making things better.