Thiruvananthapuram

Judicial probationers on the rise

As the government attempts to rejig the probation system in the State to make it more effective, the number of judicial probationers has shown a steady increase over the years.

The Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 states that all persons found guilty of crimes that will not lead to life imprisonment or death penalty can be put on probation instead of being sentenced.

Judicial probation means imposition of probation by court after suspension of the sentence in non-violent crimes or first-time offences to facilitate rehabilitation of offenders in society instead of sending them to jails in the midst of hardcore criminals. In 2015-16, the number of judicial probationers was 146. This increased to 260 in 2019-20. In 2018-19, this was only 169.

Executive probationers

The number of executive probationers, that is offenders released on good conduct after serving a portion of their sentence and put under the guidance of probation officers, too has gone up during this period. In 2015-16, the number of executive probationers was 71. This rose to 98 in 2019-20.

The number of preliminary enquiries from courts for reports from probation officers on offenders whose trial is on or who are undertrials has also been going up steadily. In 2015-16, the number of such enquiries was 308. This more than doubled to 626 in 2019-20.

Premature enquiries from jail advisory boards in central prisons and open jails if an offender is eligible for early release have gone up from 658 to 1,012 in these five years.

Enquiries from probation officers for victim compensation as per the Kerala Victim Compensation Scheme in rape or sexual abuse cases, murders, or other attacks have shot up from only three in 2015-16 to 132 in 2018-19. In 2019-20, it was 60.

In the State, probation as a social defence programme – protection of society against crime – entails focus on aspects such as interventions among former prisoners, probationers, parolees, and first-time offenders, plea bargaining, and community service.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 5:24:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/judicial-probationers-on-the-rise/article33244285.ece

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