One of the challenges that penitentiary authorities face is that of designing proper rehabilitation programs for violent criminals. The violent criminals in question here tend to be individuals with crime and violence deeply ingrained in their psyches. So you find that they are individuals for whom crime and violence is at the very core of who they are. Therefore rehabilitating them means changing who they are, and as we all know, no challenge is bigger than that of changing a person’s core being.
In designing proper rehabilitation programs for violent criminals, it is important to understand the root cause of the problem. In most cases, you will tend to find that the way these individuals were brought up in their earliest years is to blame for the way they turned out. Of course, there are those who are enticed into crime in their teens or even in their adulthood (typically by the entertainment industry through movies and songs that glorify violence and crime). But then again, for a person to be capable of being enticed into crime by such movies and songs, you tend to find that the seed was planted much earlier in their childhood, through the upbringing.
The most important thing here is to understand that these are individuals who are mentally unwell. It is the mental illness that makes them commit violent crime. So the rehabilitation program should revolve around identification of the underlying mental disorder, and treatment of the same. On top of these, the violent criminals need to be introduced to alternative ways of living, alternative ways of earning livelihoods… and so on.
The approach to rehabilitation of violent criminals we are proposing here is very different from what is currently in practice. Presently, we have a system where prisons are just as violent and nasty as the backstreets. You actually have people maintaining their gang affiliations in the very prisons! It is very hard to expect meaningful rehabilitation to be taking place under such circumstances. What you have instead is a situation where people come out of the ‘rehabilitation facilities’ worse than they went in.