BY TINASHE MUNGAZI
BULAWAYO High court judge, Justice Maxwell Takuva has appealed to tertiary institutions to consider offering criminology degrees in order to find ways of preventing crime and appropriate ways of punishment and rehabilitation of offenders.
Criminology is a scientific study of criminal behaviour, including the cause, occurrences, control and prevention, among others.
Officially opening the Hwange High Court circuit on Monday, Justice Takuva said the introduction of criminology degrees in universities would also assist judiciary officers to make carefully considered sentences based on all factors.
“Criminology is not recognised or practiced in Zimbabwe and could play a large and significant role in the context of the fight against crime and general maintenance of social order. While most governments focus on punishment as a reaction to crime, there is a strong shift in emphasis from punishment as a crime prevention method.
“The two main general focus areas of criminology are, therefore, to find ways of preventing crimes as well as finding appropriate ways of punishment and rehabilitation. My plea to our institutions is that they should consider offering criminology from undergraduate through to doctorate degree level. The judicial officer, therefore, makes carefully considered sentence based on all factors including that of the forensic criminologist. There is need to introduce criminology as a profession in Zimbabwe,” Justice Takuva said.
He also added that the introduction of criminologists into the justice system would shift attention from dealing with the problem of crime to focusing on crime prevention.
“It is of extreme importance that we acknowledge that essentially the problem and solution to crime cannot be a criminal justice matter alone, but involves many role players within government and civic society. There is, therefore, need to introduce criminology as a profession in Zimbabwe which would specifically work on crime prevention, social cohesion as a tool for prevention and creating a crime free country.”
Fourteen cases are set to be heard during the first term of the circuit, which will run for two weeks. The event was attended by security service chiefs, traditional leaders, business community, legal fraternity and members of community.