Different theories of punishment have remained basis of judicial system since ancient and Middle Ages: retributive theory suggests severe punishment while reformative theory focuses on reforming the criminals. In this modern world, judicial system is changing from retributive theory to reformative theory. And the concept of probation is a product of reformative theory.
The word “probation” is originated from a Latin word. This Latin word is “probation”, which means testing time.
(a) Period Of Time
Probation is a period of time during which an offender, who is not sent to prison, is to obey law and is to be supervised by probation officer.
(b) Conditional Release
The conditional release of an offender on the promise of good behaviour is called probation.
(c) Court-Ordered Program
Probation is a court-ordered program for supervising an offender outside prison.
Probation can be explained in the following words:
- (a) Founder
- (b) Basic philosophy & purpose
- (c) Types of probation
- (d) When is probation granted?
- (e) When is probation mot granted?
- (f) Termination of probation,
- (g) Revocation of probation
John Augustus is known as the father of probation.
(b) Basic Philosophy & Purpose
The basic philosophy, which works behind the concept and the purpose of probation, is to prevent the young person from being sent to jail where he is to spend time with hardened criminals, who lead him to criminal activities.
(c) Types Of Probation
Followings are types of probation:
- (c-i) Supervised probation
- (c-ii) Administrative probation
- (c-iii) Community control probation
(c-i) Supervised Probation
In supervised probation, the probation officer supervises the offender on the regular basis.
(c-ii) Unsupervised Probation
In administrative probation, the offender is not under the direct supervision of the probation officer. Rather he is to obey specific court order/bond condition. Such probation is usually granted in less serious crimes. It is also called unsupervised probation.
(c-iii) Community Control Probation
In community control probation, offender remains at home or is allowed to leave home for work or education. He is monitored by an ankle tracking device.
(d) When Is Probation Granted?
Probation is usually granted in the following cases:
- (d-i) Age of offender
- (d-ii) First time offender
- (d-iii) Female offender
- (d-iv) Past attitude
- (d-v) Minor property crimes
- (d-vi) Unintentional crimes
- (d-vii) Deprived person
- (d-viii) Record of offender’s family
(d-i) Age Of Offender
Age of offender is considered to grant probation: probation is usually granted to young persons.
(d-ii) First Time Offender
Probation is usually granted to first time offender.
(d-iii) Female Offender
Probation is usually granted to female offender.
(d-iv) Past Attitude
Past attitude of the offender is considered to grant him the probation.
(d-v) Minor Property Crimes
Probation is usually granted in cases of minor property crimes.
(d-vi) Unintentional Crimes
Probation is usually granted in cases of unintentional crimes.
(d-vii) Deprived Person
Probation is granted when a deprived person has committed some wrong.
(d-viii) Record Of Offender’s Family.
Record of the offender’s family is considered to grant him the probation.
(e) When Probation is not granted
in the following cases:
- (e-i) Fixed punishments
- (e-ii) Previous record
- (e-iii) Second & habitual offenders
- (e-iv) False evidence
- (e-v) Punishment of death
- (e-vi) Major property crimes
- (e-vii) Bad character
(e-i) Fixed Punishments
Probation is not granted in cases of fixed punishments like life imprisonment.
(e-ii) Previous Record
Probation is not granted to an offender of previous record.
(e-iii) Second & Habitual Offenders
Probation is not granted to second and habitual offenders.
(e-iv) False Evidence
Probation is not granted to a person, who has given false evidence in some case.
(e-v) Punishment Of Death
Probation is not granted in cases of sentence to death.
(e-vi) Major Property Crimes
Probation is not granted in cases of major property crimes like house breaking by night.
(e-vii) Bad Character
Probation is not granted to an offender of bad character.
(f) Termination Of Probation
Probation terminates when probation period is successfully completed or when rules of probation are violated.
(g) Revocation Of Probation
Most common reason for revocation of probation is commission of new offence.
It can be finally stated that probation is court-permission for an offender to live in community so long as he is willing to abide by laws. And it can help to reduce the number of prisoners and to rehabilitate the offenders.