Understanding the Criminal
Why should we understand the Criminal?
The call to understand the criminal is a compelling imperative that demands our most unwavering attention. We can no longer dismiss the criminal as a mere sporadic inconvenience; a simple social misfit for whom civil society has long prescribed penal sanctions. No longer can mainstream, law-respecting citizens and their families see the criminal world as the ‘other side,’ far beyond their own personal space, and posing no imminent threat to their lifestyle. Technology and the inexorable cross-currents of globalization have contracted the world, unceremoniously placing us in a common village, outside of the comfort of our former socially pristine vicinity, rendering us equally vulnerable to the criminal’s ruthless grasp. Why preoccupy ourselves with criminals after they have been caught and sent to prison? After all, when an offender is convicted and imprisoned, justice is done, the victim is avenged, and society’s laws are vindicated and upheld. It’s time to move on with our lives, right? Wrong, for although we know why we sent the offender to prison, we are quite oblivious of the effect of the prison on him after he has been duly punished and have participated in every rehabilitation activity. Our dilemma is this: the criminal has been relived, arrested, convicted, punished and misunderstood.