One reform a criminal through training and restoration.

One
of the major aims of having law and order in the civilized society is to ensure
the citizen of a dignified life. Every individual deserves basic human rights
irrespective of their caste, culture, nationality, color etc. But what about
those who evade the law? Those who we punish and often imprison. Should they be
treated equally as that of other members of the society? Well, its simple. When
a person commits  a crime or evade law,
he become becomes a criminal. But does he cease to be a human being? The
humanistic principle states that even if an individual commits a crime he does
not cease to be a human being.

One
of the most humane theories of Punishment states that the main objective of
punishing an offender is not only to set an example for the society but also to
reform the individual, so that when he re-enters the society after serving his
term he can become a law abiding citizen, a changed human being. Hence criminologists
belief that imprisonment can be used as a very effective tool to educate and
reform a criminal through training and restoration. But what happens when this so
called reformed prisoner tries to reenter the society. Is he now free to start
a fresh dignified life or he is again imprisoned by societal hatred and
unacceptability?

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We
have often observed that when prisoners are released, they do not find it easy
to become a productive member of the society. They are denied from employment opportunity,
government services, often rejected by their families and looked down as sub
citizen with hatred. It turns out to be very challenging to get back into his
ordinary life. Infact sometimes in order to deal with these miseries, he again
re-enters the path or crime and wrongs. But is it completely their fault or
makes the society equally responsible for their act? Is the criminal justice
system serving them justice by denying them their basic human rights? In this
paper we will discuss the various societal challenges  and collateral damages faced by the
ex-offenders and examine how far these are violating their basic rights and put
forward various suggestions about how the situation of these neglected
population can improved.  

 

 

ANALIZING THE CHALLENGES FACED BY
EX-OFFENDERS ON REENTERING THE SOCIETY

After
spending decades in prison, when a prisoner finally comes out he is often not accepted
by the society. He needs to undergo counseling sessions but cannot do so due to
the limited resources available to him which makes his situation worse making
it more difficult for him to start over. In order to examine these challenges
and their effect on the prisoner we will categorize them into three group –
Micro analysis deals with the individual issues, Mezo analysis studies his
relation to family and other smaller groups while Macro analysis deals with
larger group of people like companies, communities, agencies and even nation.

1.     
Micro
Challenges faced by the offenders

It is often noticed that when
offenders are released, it becomes difficult for them to secure a job and earn
a proper livelihood. There can be many reasons for that. Often we notice that
due to spending a long term in prison, they are deprived of educational an
opportunity which holds them back in the real world. Lack of practical training
and participation in various activities remains as a bog disadvantage to these
imprisoned people. They often drop out from schools and colleges in order to
finish their term of punishment making their education incomplete. All thse
factors makes it difficult for them to secure a job compared to that of the
general population who had easy access to all the education and training.

It is also observed that sometimes
the employers are hesitant to hire those who have served imprisonment or committed
crime as they do not feel secure to allow an ex-offender into his work
premises. They are unsure about their violent behavior and effect on other
employees.

The prominent gap in the resume of
the convict makes the situation more difficult for him to even getting accepted
for an interview and hence limits their professional network. In fact their past
experiences are also not valued much in the light of the offences committed by
him. Sometimes during imprisonment they face physical and metal health issues,
bodily injuries, mental disturbances etc. which is later used as an excuse by
the employers to say that they are not ready for job responsibilities.

 

 

 

2.     
Mezo
Challenges faced by the offenders

Various studies have indicated that
convicts who are in constant contact with their family or have support from
their loved ones often show more signs of reformation and do not tend to commit
crime post imprisonment. But in most of the scenario, the prisoners do not get
much co-operation from their family. Infact sometimes families of these
convicts suffer a lot of hardships in the society, dejection and hatred, as result
of which they even disown the convict member of the family.

 

In case where the convict was the sole
bread earner of the family, faces extreme poverty. Those imprisoned convicts majority
of who are parents often miss out on their children’s crutial growing years as
a result of which the relationship with their children is often disturbed and
unhealthy. For those who serve lengthy term, without the support from their
families it becomes very difficult for him to cope up with the advance
technology and societal changes.

 

When the ex-offender returns home,
the family often face a mental and financial burden as in the initial days of
returning back, he is mostly dependent on his family. But in those cases where
family denies looking after the ex-offender it becomes miserable for him to
reconnect to the world.

 

3.     
Macro
Challenges faced by the offenders:

 Macro challenges include various collateral
consequences which are faced not as a part of the punishment but outburst of
government and state’s criminal feeling. These consequences are those which are
forced by the law upon the ex offender after his conviction for a criminal wrong.

These collateral consequences often
limit various social, financial and political rights of the imprisoned
individual.

 

These practices commonly include
disentitlement from public benefits like lodging and food provided by
government at subsidized rates, employment limitations, debarment from military
services, community services, banning from jury services and also extradition
in case of non-residents. 

Irrespective of serving years as a
prisoner, they are still looked upon as threats and wrong doers and not given
all the advantages of citizenship. In order to deal with such possible threats,
the criminal justice system has come up with the strategy of ‘Parole’ where the
prisoner is allowed to return to the society with the guarantee of return to
prison if he evades the law in any way. During this term although in theories
he is set out but often various restrictions are put on them. Such limitations
includes staying  within prescribed geographical
area, prohibition from keeping forearm, ban from visiting bar or drinking
alcohol, unable to generate driving license or being accountable to frequent
search warrants etc. any time. Here clearly they are not allowed to live as per
their own terms but has to adhere with orders passed by the Parole officer. These
practices make the situation worse and often push them to relive the life of
criminal and not a reformed individual.