Despite the imposition of very stiff punishments at present the crime-rate continues to soar. So no further imposition of stiffer punishments will make things better.
Our country has one of the strictest laws in the world when it comer-, to drug-trafficking. The penalty is death. Many convicted traffickers have been hanged, but this does not deter the other traffickers. Granted, no law-abiding citizen will take the risk of trafficking in drugs, but the professional ones simply find other ways of running their vile trade. Drug-addiction eats into our society and the authorities are hard-pressed to do anything effective about it.
Drug-related crimes continue to rise. The streets of Kuala Lumpur are filled with pushers and addicts. It is said that buying drugs is as easy as buying a packet of sweets. It is probably true. Even the death-sentence cannot stop this menace Can any punishment be stiffer than death? I do not know.
Other crimes like theft, armed robbery, hijacking continue to hog the newspaper headlines. Recently spates of white-collar crimes are reported Corruption and cheating are rife. Despite the multitude of laws, law-enforcers and stiff punishments, the crime-rate shows no sign of abating.
Actually the types of punishments meted out to convicted criminals have increase in severity, but the effect of these punishments on the crime rate is minimal. Hard-core Critrinals is not afraid of jail sentences nor whipping. They have grown too callous to be affected. To them, punishments are merely part of the game where the stakes played for are high. Punishments will only deter law-abiding citizens, not those bent on committing crimes. Anyway, law-abiding citizens would not commit crimes, regardless of how stiff the punishments are. Being caught is enough punishment already.
So the answer to this rising crime-rate certainly does not lie in the imposition of stiffer punishments. I do not claim to know the answer as no one can really say for certain why people commit crimes. Some may become criminals out of necessity, revenge pride or whatever reasons they have. Some may be criminals because they are born into it or have a natural tendency towards crime. These sort of things cannot b.e be discounted completely for I know one of my school mates who is a compulsive thief. He does not need the things he steals as his family is well-off. He just steals because he likes to do Putting someone like him in jail does not make any difference. He will steal again when he is released.
Perhaps the answer lies in education. A self-sufficient society well educated in morals and principles will probably be less crime-prone. A person who has what he wants and who has high morals and principles is less likely to commit a crime. But there is no guarantee. I concede I do not know the answer.