Born criminals are society’s greatest burden and greatest responsibility.
Throughout their lives they revel in displays of provoked or unprovoked cruelty. They have a natural inclination to kill or maim others. They become members of criminal gangs and commit murder and other horrendous acts. Generally they do not become pickpockets, petty thieves or burglars. They consider such things to be the activities of petty criminals and as such beneath their dignity. In criminal circles they are usually greatly feared.
Born criminals can understand or grasp many natural phenomena more easily than highly-intelligent or wise people. Many underdeveloped creatures have a greater capacity than human beings to foresee the future, and it can be seen that born criminals also have this ability.
One must always remember that born criminals are patients, and that their disease is stubborn.
“Some few men and women are born with a deranged mind. The cause of their mental derangement is concealed within the defects of their body and glands. Such people can be divided into two main groups.
The first group is composed of people who are normally very quiet, but in whom truthfulness and doing good to others are against their nature. They derive malevolent pleasure from lying and harming others. They are generally poor at managing their worldly affairs and incapable of comprehending the difference between good and bad. They act according to their limited mental capacity. Although they are mentally underdeveloped, they are deprived of the same kindness and compassion that other simpletons, due to their innate purity, receive. They take a long time to learn how to walk and talk and to understand simple matters, and they continue to dribble for a large part of their lives. Despite the sincere efforts of their parents and teachers, they fail to acquire any education. Even before they reach adulthood they manifest their base propensities. They generally become petty thieves, not armed robbers. Although they have a bad character, they do not have the courage to perform antisocial activities openly. They commit offences on their own initiative and at the instigation of others.
The second group of born criminals is more dangerous. Throughout their lives they revel in displays of provoked or unprovoked cruelty. They have a natural inclination to kill or maim others. They become members of criminal gangs and commit murder and other horrendous acts. Generally they do not become pickpockets, petty thieves or burglars. They consider such things to be the activities of petty criminals and as such beneath their dignity. In criminal circles they are usually greatly feared. From their mode of thinking or lifestyle, it appears as though they were born only to commit crimes. They consider compassion and conscience to be mere frailties; the importance of such attributes is beyond their understanding. Although they may be slow when it comes to worldly affairs, they are not fools. At the time of committing their instinct-inspired crimes, they give ample proof of their intelligence. They demonstrate their intelligence through their knowledge of osteology and psychology, and by their behaviour when dealing with the police and the public. Even if they are born into a salutary environment, this type of inborn criminal ultimately takes to a life of crime. Women with this kind of nature are quite incapable of leading chaste lives; even if they have good husbands, they often decide to become prostitutes.
The natures and lifestyles of born criminals are as diverse as their crimes. Some pose as honest people and secretly steal and commit robberies. Some gain a lot of money through forgery or armed robbery and donate it to the poor. Some like to prey on helpless victims. Among those who commit crimes because they derive pleasure from it, some do not have the opportunity to earn a living, or if they do, do not utilize that chance to lead an honest life. The natures of born criminals, the lifestyles they lead, and their preferences for particular types of crimes are usually consistent with each other.
Psychologists have learned a great deal about criminals and are trying to research them more. If they receive cooperation from the government, and especially from the police department, they will make rapid progress in the study of criminal psychology. An analysis of criminal psychology is not the subject under discussion, but still it is a fact that born criminals are society’s greatest burden and greatest responsibility. Although such criminals are born with human bodies, mentally they are sub-human. And that is not all: even the physical structure of such people is different from that of ordinary people.
The sweet family environment that is within easy reach of human beings due to their developed intellect and which becomes even sweeter in time due to their natural qualities, is not accessible to born criminals. Even if they are born into a good environment, they cannot fully accept it. Just to satisfy their perverse mentality, they may poison their benevolent fathers out of any misunderstanding, or may brutally stab their loving mothers in the heart. From a viewpoint of normal human behaviour, it would be extremely difficult to treat born criminals as human beings.
Nature normally bestows different strengths and weaknesses on different persons, but this principle takes a deviant twist in the case of these people. Born criminals can understand or grasp many natural phenomena more easily than highly-intelligent or wise people. Many underdeveloped creatures have a greater capacity than human beings to foresee the future, and it can be seen that born criminals also have this ability.
Through the observations and investigations psychologists have made while studying criminal psychology, they have gained a great deal of useful information about born criminals. But until now no physiological or psychological treatment has been developed to reform their nature. Psychologists or physiologists know the cause of their deformities or abnormalities, and they even know [theoretically] how their abnormalities can be cured, but in practice it is extremely difficult to cure them. No country in the world has ever wished to demonstrate any enthusiasm for curing the diseases of these unfortunate people. They live like animals, senselessly performing wicked acts. And like animals, they allow their pointless lives to end with a rope around their necks.
If “a life for a life” is considered an unassailable principle of justice, then there is nothing more to say. But remember that born criminals commit their crimes due to their physical or psychic abnormalities; are not the so-called civilized people who make no effort to cure such born criminals, guilty of the same crime? Does not capital punishment amount to cutting off the head to get rid of a headache? In my opinion to take the life of a born criminal of this type is as much a crime as it would be to pass a death sentence on a patient just because we could not cure the person’s illness. It is the duty of a civilized society to arrange for born criminals to be cured of their ailments. Killing them to lighten the burden caused by their lives is certainly not indicative of a developed civilization.
So in my opinion the trials of born criminals should not concentrate solely on the magnitude of their crimes. Such criminals will have to be regarded with benevolent, humanistic sentiments, and means of curing them must be suggested.
Doctors quarantine those with an infectious disease to prevent the disease spreading to healthy people. Similarly it is necessary to isolate born criminals, indeed all types of criminals, from other people. The treatment of criminals should be undertaken in a prison, or better said, in a corrective centre. Prisons are not for punishment, rather prisons are hospitals for treatment of disease.
Psychologists cannot treat the mental diseases which inflict born criminals all alone; the cooperation of physicians and sociologists is essential. Psychologists will diagnose the mental disease and explain its origins, and they will also play a role in helping cure it as far as possible. Doctors will be responsible for curing the disease through medicine or surgery, insofar as it is caused by physiological abnormalities. Then sociologists will have to arrange for the social rehabilitation of the criminal after he or she has recovered. If psychologists only describe the nature of the disease, or if doctors only diagnose the physiological disorders and nothing more, it will not be possible to accomplish anything productive. Of course at the present time the patient may not make a complete recovery despite the concerted efforts of psychologists and sociologists, because psychology is still in an underdeveloped state. Moreover, doctors have not yet acquired the skills needed to remove the physiological abnormalities responsible for mental disease. And furthermore, the science of sociology has only just emerged; it is developing extremely slowly. However, we must take the above measures for born criminals.
As long as society fails to take such humanistic measures in dealing with born criminals, it is farcical to compel them to stand trial.
One must always remember that born criminals are patients, and that their disease is stubborn. It can of course be cured quite quickly through spiritual practices, and in a slightly longer period through yogic methods, but for this a congenial environment is essential. Prison environments should therefore be made more pure, more humane.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1959, Human Society Part 1, Justice