If a person is convicted and found guilty, to serve a prison term must be the last option, other means of punishment must be applied rather than just removing criminals from the general populace. First-time offenders, depending on the gravity of the crime, should be spared jail time as mixing them with hardened criminals might be more detrimental than rehabilitative. This would also ease pressure in the already overcrowded prisons.
PARDON MAKUNIKE,OUR READER
Of course, prisoners do work hard daily, while they are fed and provided with a place to sleep. They are not having a good time, but are living on the hard work of law-abiding citizens.
Prisoners lose family connections, when they are incarcerated. Family ties are essential if a reformed criminal hopes to re-assimilate into the working world. Families are most likely members of society to give former prisoners a place to live and a second chance, but in most cases they experience loneliness and rejection.
It is stressful and difficult for family members to witness one of their own going to prison, and old arguments may arise to avoid the real feelings regarding the imprisonment. The imprisoned member may have been the breadwinner in the household, which would leave the family struggling. Placing a criminal in prison abruptly removes a member of the family and other members need to learn to adjust to the change.
At the same time, the good work done by our prison service is appreciated. For example, if an individual has robbed or killed another and does not do prison time, the likelihood of a repeat crime grows exponentially. Hence we all see the need for criminals to be removed from society to protect law-abiding citizens and ensure a pattern of peace in the community.
People should know that prison is not a place for fun and should avoid breaking the law. Would-be offenders may take heed if there is a solid understanding of the consequences.
Ex-cons will try by all means to avoid returning to prison. Equipping prisoners with life skills should be a prerequisite for all prisons in the country to avoid cases of repeat offenders.
The Zimbabwe prison system should rehabilitate prisoners and create responsible citizens.