Crime control is one of the oldest problems our society has been facing throughout the ages. To address this, several strategies have been introduced – life imprisonment without parole for drug lords, drunk-driving checkpoints, habitual offender statutes, police patrol in high-crime neighborhoods, and death sentence, among others. For several years now, the American government has stopped implementing some of its strategies which it deemed to be too “soft” on crime.
Instead, it focused on pursuing strategies aimed at locking up as many criminals as possible and imposing on them the punishment they deserve. What becomes an issue, however, are the claims of civic groups regarding miscarriage of justice, where police and prosecutors produce false evidence, suppress evidence in favor of the defendant, and “purchase” of evidence from “made-up witnesses. ” In other words, the human rights of the innocent suspects are allegedly taken for granted.
In spite these claims, it can be said that the criminal justice strategies still reflect the government’s commitment to provide public order. While there may be some instances when the rights of the accused are sacrificed or negatively affected by the implementation of these strategies, this does not necessarily imply that implementation of the law violate the rights of these individuals.
The measure of the effectiveness of the punishments on criminals is not simply the low crime rate but also the prevention of criminals from doing further injury to society and prevention of others from committing similar offenses. With regards to the implementation, no man can be judged a criminal unless proven guilty and to resolve the “human rights violation” issue, the law enforcers must see to it that public protection is extended to the person involved.
If found guilty, the concerned individual should suffer only the punishment ordained by the laws. In conclusion, crimes are more effectively prevented by the certainty of punishment than the severity of punishment. This means that the heaviness of a punishment does not ensure crime control. For these punishments to be effective in preventing crimes, the laws must be clear and simple, the whole nation be united in defense, and the laws be intended to favor the general welfare than any particular classes of men.
Still, the best way to prevent crimes is to look at the root of the problem. Crimes, as we all know, are rooted from the lack of some things in the society, be it in the forms of services, material things, or physical needs. To remedy this, maybe it is just a right time for the American government to listen to the voice of the people. One of the best statements that can be taken into consideration is that of Wayne Scott, head of the correctional system in Texas who once said:
If you want to address the crime problem in the long term, it gets around to looking at at-risk children and trying to influence them in a positive direction during formative years. The politicians should also determine the connection between high crime rate and dramatic lack of sufficient health care, social security, support for single parents, and cultural offers for the indigent. Reference Charles A. Murray, “Does Prison Work? ” Institute of Economic Affairs, IEA Health and Welfare Unit, Choice in Welfare No. 38, July 1997.