What does Hinduism say about crime?

Most Hindus believe that in order to achieve the higher spiritual goals, they must fulfil dharma. This concept of justice is linked to the principles of karma and ahimsa.

Actions in this life will directly affect experiences in future existences. 'Bad' or negative actions will lead to karmic debt.

Committing crime is often against ahimsa and usually viewed as a 'bad' action, while protecting those who are victims of crime is usually viewed as a 'good' action. Most Hindus would agree that crime exists in the world because people have free will and some will not always act justly or kindly.

Some Hindus would say such people have many 'lessons to learn' in terms of karma and need to be reborn many times in order to attain moksha.

How do Hindus respond to crime in society and those who commit crime?

Many Hindus are concerned about the welfare of prisoners. They may campaign for prison reform, visit prisoners, or vote for a political party that reflects their views on justice and treating people equally.

Others may believe more strongly in the 'actions have consequences' interpretation of karma and work towards better justice for victims of crime. They may believe, for example, that longer prison sentences will deter more crime.

Other Hindus will have as their key principle the concept of criminals 'paying' for their crimes through karmic debt, maybe in another life, and will focus more on exploring and alleviating causes of crime.