Beyond redemption

Sir, - Mr. K. S. Narayana in his article ``Need for reforming prisons and police'' (TheHindu, July 4) has analysed the ills of society, governments and politicians. He has given the true picture of the state of affairs prevailing in the prison system and has advocated wide-ranging reforms. The prison reforms as regards lack of living amenities and overcrowding are absolutely essential and should be attended to immediately.

But the moot question is what should be the attitude of society towards hard-core criminals. Most of the psychiatrists all over the world do not wish to treat difficult psychopaths. They feel that they are no more redeemable.

Shouldn't we identify such inveterate psychopathic criminals and confine them to top security prisons on long-term basis. They will never benefit from any reforms and education and recreation is a wasteful expenditure on them. They do not have any conscience and they neither learn from their past mistakes and punishment nor from any insightful therapy.

In the U.S. there is specific legislation to take care of such individuals and it is called ``3 strikes and you are out''. If someone commits three serious crimes in a row, the details of the felonies and conditions are notified, he or she will be confined paroleless for the rest of his/her life. It is a fact that in those States where this is in vogue, special ships have been hired to house these individuals for ever, like the earlier days when such criminals used to be sent to the Andamans or Australia. Since the introduction of ``3 strikes and you are out'' law, the crime rate has fallen and most of these criminals are young people who necessarily have to die in their prisons.

Though this looks harsh, the fact is that their genetic makeup is criminal and they are like wild beasts and society needs to be protected from their predatory activities.

M.A.M. Khan,