Criminology: Exploring legal complexities, societal dynamics
To explore the diverse landscape of legal complexities and societal dynamics, Eastern Mirror interviewed Vaishali Rathore, assistant professor (criminology) at Kohima Law College
KOHIMA — The realm of criminology encompasses various emerging trends such as green criminology, cybercrime, rehabilitation strategies and complexities of criminal behaviour.
To explore the diverse landscape of legal complexities and societal dynamics, Eastern Mirror interviewed Vaishali Rathore, assistant professor (criminology) at Kohima Law College. She shared the intricacies of laws related to juvenile delinquency and children in need of care and protection, influence of policies and technology, criminal justice system and more.
Here is excerpt of the interview:
What is your background and specialisation?
Rathore: I have cleared NET in Criminology and have been attempting to delve on laws relating to juvenile delinquency and children in need of care and protection.
What are the emerging trends or issues in the field of criminology?
Rathore: Criminology covers a vast sphere under our legal system. Recently emerging issues may be cited as green criminology dealing with environmental crimes, cyber crimes, adult and juvenile crimes, rehabilitation of offenders, victimisation of inmates, marital rape, harassment of women at workplace, protection of children from sexual offences etc.
What strategies or programmes have been effective in preventing crime?
Rathore: Strategies and programmes for prevention of crime must be devised in coordination with the government, police and legal agencies.
Strategies like taking quick stringent actions against the offenders committing heinous crimes involving rape, molestation, trafficking, terrorism etc., have been effective in preventing physical crimes, while cyber and white collar crimes are controlled by proper surveillance and awareness.
Repeated reminders to the youth in the form of seminars and awareness camps about the ill effects of drugs and alcohol and the establishment of rehabilitation centres have proved instrumental in preventing social crimes.
Can you let us know the common factors that contribute to criminal behaviour?
Rathore: No one is born a criminal. Circumstances play most vital role in igniting the criminal behaviour.
However, factors like illiteracy, unemployment, access to obscenity online, longing for easy money, craving for power, dirty politics, family background, bad company etc., can be attributed as some common factors resulting into criminal behaviour.
How does the criminal justice system work and what are its strengths and weaknesses?
Rathore: The foremost aim of the criminal justice system is that an innocent should not be punished even at the cost of sparing an offender. So the first time offenders, offenders below the age of 21 and those charged with petty offences are generally released after admonition or fine.
However, at the same time the system ensures that those charged with serious or heinous crimes must be awarded exemplary punishments to serve as a deterrent.
Also it strives to strike a balance between punishment and rehabilitation. Our system not only aims at punishing the criminal but at the same time victims are compensated.
The major weakness of our criminal justice system is the delay to resolve cases in time. With dearth of judges and pendency of over three crore cases, the aim of justice is defeated. Justice delayed is justice denied.
How do policies and laws impact crime rates and criminal behaviour?
Rathore: Policies and laws form an integral part of criminal justice system in our country. Crime rates are inversely proportional to the stringent laws. Stricter the laws, lower would be the crime rate. But criminal behavior may only be minimised if the laws and policies are implemented and executed in their true spirit.
How has technology influenced the nature of crime and law enforcement?
Rathore: Technology is a double-edged weapon. On one hand, facilities like video conferencing have helped reach out to witnesses in every nook and corner.
On the other hand, the advent of technology has resulted in increasing cyber crimes. Information regarding enforcement of law and legislation is just a click away, but sometimes haste to pass on certain information also misleads the public on many occasions.
What role do social and economic factors play in criminal activities?
Rathore: Social and economic factors play a considerable role in shaping the criminal mind. Social factors like family background, peer pressure, academic institutions etc., shape the psychology of a person.
Economic factors affect the criminal behaviour even more. Unemployment and poverty breed frustrated youth who are incited to commit any crime for money. Also the greed for quick and easy money to fulfill all youthful desires gives way to criminal activities. Social media also plays a negative role by vindicating the urge to replicate the lifestyles of richer people.
How can communities collaborate with law enforcement agencies to improve safety?
Rathore: Communities include the institutions and people associated with the social development. Institutions like schools, colleges, workplaces and religious institutions form part of the community.
The role of community as regards the safety must be to sensitise the people of their rights and responsibilities, and also about the consequences of violation of laws.