Crime is a reality in every society. The guiding principles helping Sikhs to consider questions raised by crime include fairness, equality, free will and justice.
Why is criminal behaviour the result of free choice?
Each person can choose whether to abide by the laws or not, no one can force them to break the law
Some people are born genetically inclined to break the law
People cannot do anything other than follow in the example of older members of their family
As an act of punishment, what is reformation?
Removing a criminal from society so that the innocent are protected
Punishing someone so harshly that they will not reoffend
Getting a criminal to turn away from crime through changing their attitude
As an act of punishment, what is retribution?
Punishing offenders in the same way that they have hurt other people
How does prison act as a protection for society?
It makes the criminal pay back money to the people that have been hurt
It removes the criminal from society so that others can be safer
Prison allows the criminal to work within society
What is capital punishment?
Locking a criminal in prison for life
The death penalty
Cutting off a criminal's hand
How can Sikhs guarantee that all criminals will, ultimately, be treated fairly?
Sikhs believe in the law of karma; God will punish everyone fairly
The justice system will always punish criminals appropriately
If everyone campaigns for prison reform all criminals will be treated fairly
Why do Sikhs believe that they should work for justice?
They should work for justice because all criminals are treated unfairly
The importance of working for justice is emphasised in the Rahit Maryada
They should work for justice to ensure that those who murder receive capital punishment
What do Sikhs teach about how criminals should be treated in prison?
Criminals should be tortured in prison until they tell the complete truth about their crimes
Criminals should be forced to work in prison so that they can pay back any money they owe to society
Criminals should be treated fairly and humanely whilst in prison
Why do most Sikhs disagree with the death penalty?
Most Sikhs believe equality and dignity are vital. Executing people takes away their right to human dignity
Sikhs do not believe in violence
The Guru Granth Sahib states it does not agree with the death penalty
Why is Maharaja Ranjit Singh important when considering Sikh attitudes towards the death penalty?
During his rule in the Punjab, murderers were executed. This implies that some serious criminals should be executed for their crimes
During his rule in the Punjab criminals were executed. This implies that Sikhs should support the death penalty
During his rule in the Punjab no criminals were executed. This implies that Sikhs should oppose the death penalty