Charles Dickens gave a lot of attention to crime because crime was an inescapable social problem at the time. Today crime is just as much of a problem.

When a child is born they are born innocent and their minds are a blank slate - they are born with no intellect, morals, values, etc., only basic instincts like wanting to eat, sleep, cry, etc. What the child learns in the first years of its life lays the foundations for the child's morals, values, respect (or lack of respect) and is passed on by the child's parents. Basically a child is born innocent and filled with goodness.

It is often believed that crime among children is as a result of bad parenting. Is it the parents' responsibility or society's responsibility? Whose fault is it for the child's easy going attitude towards violence and crime? Some experts claim that it is due to the parent's lack of supervision, lack of consistent upbringing, drugs and witnessing violence and abuse in the home that leads to violent and criminal behaviour. Other experts claim that it is as a result of violence seen on television and movies, the media glamorisation of violence, violence in musical lyrics, and even the violence played out in video games that allows children to accept violence as a normal part of life. Television, for example, is one of the greatest influences in a childís life next to their parents. The average child will see 8,000 or more murders and 100,000 or more other acts of random violence on television.
Other factors that lead to crime are poor education and lack of employment opportunities. People suffer from low self-esteem, they become impulsive, take risks and donít care about the consequences of violent or criminal behaviour.

When children do something that is not appropriate they need to be punished so that they can learn their lesson. A child needs to be punished and privileges that he enjoys taken away like his television or video game machine.
Today prisoners receive free medical care, free education, some prisons have pool tables, gyms, televisions etc. To a lot of our criminals life in prison is a lot better than the life that they lead in the street. At least in prison they have a roof over their heads and food. So a potential criminal has nothing to loose and no lessons that will be learnt by being in prison.

I feel that the best way to avoid an ever-increasing prison population is by starting with prevention programs when children are young. Education is very important. From a young age children must be taught that there are consequences and punishment will be handed out for inappropriate behaviour. I believe that the death penalty will also help to reduce crime.

However, you do get people who even though they grow up in unfavourable environments will make something of themselves. Despite Oliver's circumstances growing up he remains uncorrupted by crime. Oliver Twist suggests that redemption from evil is possible, as long as you know that you are going to remain good. However, those who disobey have to suffer punishment. Dickens shows that there must be retribution. If we had to impose strict and consistent punishment and show society that there must be retribution right from childhood and we must do teshuva - maybe we would work towards a crime free society.