Probation: A Prison Reform

Probation: A Prison Reform


This Blog is written by Pranjal Rai from Amity Law School, LucknowEdited by Ravikiran Shukre.



“Hate the crime and not the criminal”, You might have heard this a zillion times. This means that we want to eliminate crime and for this, the elimination of criminals isn’t required. The criminal law in India is more into reforming offenders instead of punishing them. It is true that punishment gives a way of satisfaction to the society also on the victim, but this doesn’t reform the criminals. Especially within the cases of imprisonment, once the person is out of prison, he’s back to his old ways of infringement of rights. This is common within the cases of youth criminals. Their minds are not mature and get diverted when engaged with several criminals in jail.


The word probation is a sort of the Latin word probare which suggests to test or prove. Probation occurs when an offender happens to be released into the community without serving any prison sentence, however, kept under the supervision of probation officers. The individuals who receive probation are called probationers. They are usually court-appointed and must confirm that their probationer follows the principles.

Section 562 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1898, was the earliest provision to affect probation. After the amendment in 1974, it stands as S.360 (Order to release on probation of excellent conduct or after admonition) and S.361 makes it mandatory for the judge to declare the reasons for not awarding the advantage of probation.

In 1958 the Legislature enacted the Probation of Offenders Act, to supervise the accused during the amount of his probation.


Many agree that probation may be a good alternative to incarceration. There are several noteworthy benefits to probation: probation keeps individuals within the community and is less expensive compared to incarceration. With calls to decrease mass incarceration, it’s going to add up initially to put more individuals on probation instead of incarcerating them. This seems like a worthy goal.

However, we must debate and wrestle with the aim of probation before diverting people from prison to the community. Is the goal of probation rehabilitation? Is it to ensure public safety? Is it to deter crime? Is it all of the above and more? Examining these questions is vital because the answers impact probationers, their families, and therefore the communities they live and add. Research shows that probation officers and departments that emphasize attention on enforcement (and see public safety because the overarching goal) file more violations, including technical violations and produce higher revocation rates compared to those who have a social casework approach.


Effects on Offenders:

Probation provides many offenders, especially drug offenders or other low-risk individuals, an alternative to incarceration. Families can remain together, and fogeys can work and remain a stable presence in their households. The probation department can work to rehabilitate the offender through a spread of social services, like drug or alcohol treatment or life skills classes. According to the website, right Crime, this will reduce the likelihood of the offender committing future crimes, thus preventing him from becoming a career criminal. The probationer doesn’t need to spend time in prison, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. If the offender is out of custody and dealing, he is going to be ready to pay restitution to his victim. However, some offenders don’t answer probation intervention strategies and cash in on their freedom by committing new crimes.

Effect On Society:

Probation reduces taxpayer costs by keeping individuals out of prison. According to the book “Introduction to Criminal Justice,” probation costs about $2,000 yearly while prison costs about $25,000 per annum. When these individuals can remain within the community and work, it benefits not only the offender and her family but society as an entire. The individual contributes to the general economy rather than becoming a drain thereon. Transitioning to life after prison presents a challenge for the foremost well-intentioned individual. With probation, they are doing not got to do so. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistic, about 30 percent of probationers didn’t complete probation successfully in 2009.

Effect On Victim:

Victims could also be those most personally affected by the actions of criminals. Victims are often involved throughout the court process, attend proceedings and provide input before and at sentencing. Probation holds offenders responsible for their behavior by charging them with the responsibility of paying restitution as a neighborhood of their rehabilitation. In most cases, any money the probationer pays first goes to a victim than to other fees. In some cases, victims can confront offenders and discuss the impact of the crime on their lives. Victim Impact Panels, which involve drinking and driving offenses, are one example of this. However, sometimes victims want their offender in prison, off the streets, and paying for the crime he committed.


Instead of keeping the accused with hardened criminals in jail, the court may order personal freedom on the thought of fantastic behavior. The court can also grant a supervision period for the accused. the most aim behind the Probation of Offender Act, 1958 is to supply an opportunity to offenders to reform themselves rather than turning into hardened criminals. Section 562 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1898 (after amendment it stands as Section 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973) provides that an individual not below twenty-one years aged who may haven’t been convicted for an offense for imprisonment up to seven years or not convicted to death or imprisonment of life are often released on the idea of probation permanently conduct.

The Act is based on a reformative approach that has encountered the years from the Doctrine of Deterrence. it’s been observed that the offender’s readjustment in society decreases after the discharge. they could also face problems while working with professional delinquents. This creates an undesired impact on the convicted and his/her life afterward. The Probation of Offender Act, 1958 saves minor offenders from becoming regular criminals. this is often done by providing them with a chance to reform themselves rather than getting into prison. The officeholder amicably reaches to the requirements and difficulties of the accused and tries to unravel the matter. this is often finished by the person convicted of minor crimes.


Kamroonissa v. The State of Maharashtra, [AIR (1974) SC 2117]

The appellant was charged with the theft of gold. She was punished by rigorous imprisonment. She was under 21 years aged. The officeholder thus requested the court to grant her the discharge under Sections 3 and 4 of the probation of the offender’s Act. The court refused the claim by addressing that the appellant had been engaging in various crimes before and was arrested in 1971.

State of Sikkim v. Dorjee Sherpa and Ors

In some cases, the Court doesn’t take technical views and can take into account certain considerations, just like the danger of labor losses, to invoke the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act even in serious offenses. This was also argued that the Court would also take into account that convicts belonging to middle-class families with no record frequently become victims of situations because of the unwelcome business and other negative forces available to those young generations.


The advantage of probation is often usefully applied to cases where persons on account of family discord, destitution, loss of near relatives, or other causes of like nature, decide to put an end to their own lives. Its aim is to reform the offender and to make him see the right path. It would be of great help to a country like India where the prisons are always overcrowded, with regular abuses of human rights which can harden a person’s inside. Probation is that the divine affirmation inside every being and it’s to tend importance.

In order to accomplish the last word purpose of reclaiming all criminals back to organized society, the reform and recovery process must be administered within the sense of this social situation. alongside the juvenile justice system, probation has taken the human interests and socio-economic issues underlying the principles of crime and punishment to the forefront. It also helped to make positive views towards prisoners and expanded the role of enforcing criminal justice beyond standard sentencing.


The Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 is extremely helpful especially within this context of prison reform, of a jail sentence that not recognizes the jail sentence because the sole course of care to form sure the safety of society, is of considerable significance to the judiciary and probation services. the choice punishment measure, i.e. probation and thus the idea of reform penalty, is often achieved only by the cooperation of the judiciary and thus the administration. this may benefit a country like India, with prisons that are always overcrowded, with regular abuses of human rights that harden a person’s internality. Probation could also be a validation of the person inside every being, and priority should be granted. within the sense of current social structures, the rehabilitation and recovery process must be structured to accomplish the last word objective of returning these offenders to an orderly community. For all suitable cases, where the concept of restorative justice possesses to be enforced, it’s crucial that the numerous criminal justice systems organizations work together to make probation an efficient method of noncustodial care.





Leave a Comment