Reform of our penal system is vital

Dear Editor,

I think we should all look at the recent disaster with the destruction of the Camp Street prison and subsequent escapes of convicts, in the same way we human beings should always view any problems that we encounter in our lives, with a deep examination of the conditions and events that may have been the real causes of this fiasco.

I have always posited that the system by which criminals are incarcerated for some wrongdoing should be one more geared towards the purpose of reform of these unfortunate members of our society rather than punishment.  We must realise that criminals are a product of our own society, and together we have a bounden obligation to attempt to get them back on the path to becoming useful and successful members of society.

The connection I make with this and the destruction of the prison is that the present culture of punishment of wrongdoers says to all those involved in their incarceration that their duty lies in making this as drastic as possible.  This approach must surely result in inmates becoming more and more aggrieved and desperate to escape at all costs, as well as more hardened in their wrongful ways.  This may be seen as being in sharp contrast to a situation where they are treated humanely and can clearly see that they are being taken on the road to reform into useful citizens, and treated as potential contributors to our development.

If we, who feel that we are above these unfortunates, lack the will and the ability to implement this system of reform, then we will have to suffer the consequences in more unrest in these institutions, and the absence of more and more citizens to help in our nation’s progress. At the same time, it will effect a drain on our scarce resources with much needed funds going towards their upkeep and supervision, as well as continuing the grave risk of disasters like this one.

Please let us use our inborn feelings for our fellowmen and this recent debacle to start on the road to this vital reform in our penal system.

Yours faithfully,

Roy Paul               

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