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Prison Riots and National Stability


12 November 2012 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Udara Soysa
The prison riots last week dominated news and drew  increasing public attention to the situation. According to a report posted on the Daily Mirror website, the armed forces discovered 11 bodies of prisoners on Saturday raising the death toll in an overnight prison riot in the capital to 27. The news source was the Minister of of Prison Reforms, Chandrasiri Gajadeera. Many overwhelmed by the riot expressed the view that the current prison situation was due to the absence of death penalty. The proponents of this argument state that with the enforcement of death penalty, one can eradicate criminals such as those who "allegedly" ran the 'prison break episode' last Friday evening. By implementing the death penalty, they further argue that prison operations will be minimized and the "scum of the earth" imprisoned in the system will be eradicated. This, as to their argument will ensure a smoother functioning society.

Leaving pros and cons of implementing the death penalty aside, this over simplified notion should be responded to with vigour. An interesting response to this simplified argument will come from an unexpected source – the criminal justice system of the United States of America. Despite the  continual enforcement of death penalty in many states, the United States' crime rate is comparatively high in comparison with other developed nations that do not subscribe to death penalty. It is thus clear that the death penalty will not serve as a panacea for the current crime waves or crimes committed with impunity.

" With pros and cons of the death penalty aside, this over simplified notion should be responded to with vigour "

What then is a better approach in the management of current crisis of crime and break down of law in society that indeed threatens the very fabrics of long term national stability?

Establishment of an independent and effective systems to ensure the rule of law not rule of arbitrary governance in the country will offer a better approach. Establishing a constitutional mechanism that disengage criminals from political patronage, establishing an efficient and an independent police force and re-establishing the commissions that ensure the independence of the essential governance of the state such as judiciary, police and public service. This will ensure better men and women taking responsibilities for management and operations of the country’s future eradicating the current trends of crime, lawlessness and impunity.

The ghost of the 18th amendment and the pangs of the 17 thamendment repeal will, otherwise, forever haunt the long term development in all sectors of Sri Lankan society.

  Comments - 1

  • Srimal Tuesday, 13 November 2012 05:22 AM

    Lots of human lives losts. This is what happened when you try to control people by using military actions. This is very similar in Sri Lanka now. Government is trying to put down/control people voice by military involement. End results will be worse....

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