Some people think sending criminals to prison is an effective way to deal with them, others think education and training are better. To what extent do you agree or disagree?


The jail system has been in existence since the very beginning of human civilization. And only until recently has it been questioned regarding whether imprisoning criminals is still a workable way to help them, as some people contend that education and training could be a better alternative.

It is certainly true that prisons have served to prevent criminals from committing further crimes, thereby protecting ordinary citizens. What remains also valid is the fact that it has the added effect of deterring other potential criminals from performing such legally unacceptable activities. Thus to a certain extent, I do agree that putting criminals in prison is one useful way to ensure social stability and harmony.

However it has also been noticed that those once wrong doer do not often turn out to be good law obeyers after the jail term is over. More often than not, it seems that many become re-offenders. Clearly, without aiming to solve the problem within such lost people, traditional punishment system only plays the role of suppressing rather than rehabilitating them. Even vocational training and conventional education programs have little effect in changing the problematic thought system in the minds of wrong doers, as such education programs are still geared towards addressing external problems rather than internal ones. And in many affluent societies, it is the inner unresolved issues that propel many to go astray.

My view is that a holistic inmate education should encompass spiritual knowledge to cultivate self-reflection so as to develop a healthy value system towards life. Only in this way could we change from the passive approach of simply attempting to cope with them to that of authentically helping them make the difference internally and externally, thereby co-creating a truly civilized world.


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