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Rehabilitating Criminals: Perspectives and Practices in India

"Rehabilitating criminal perspective practices in India" is a comprehensive article authored by Vikas Shankar, with Aditya Garkoti and Shivam Gaur serving as co-authors. The article delves into the complex issue of rehabilitating criminal perspectives within the Indian context. Shankar's expertise and the collaborative effort of Garkoti and Gaur provide a multifaceted examination of strategies and challenges in reforming criminal behaviors.

In order to rehabilitate the criminals, first we need to know what constitutes a crime? The conventional view is that "crime is an offence against the State, while in contrast a tort in violation of civil law, is an offence against an individual". Accordingly, crime is defined as behaviour that is detrimental to society's interests and is prohibited by penal law. It essentially consists of two parts: the illegal conduct (Actus Reas) itself that is prohibited by law and that act is driven by Mens Rea (intention, or knowledge). "2 A crime is a public wrong, as opposed to a moral wrong; it is an offence committed against society and state and hence punishable by the state or the community at large. Many crimes are immoral, but not all immoral actions are illegal.

According to Durkheim, "Crime exists in every society which does and does not have laws, courts, and the police. He argues that crime exists in all societies because in all societies there are two types of actions, those that are permitted and those that are prohibited. The last type he calls criminals". 3

Every civilization has a different approach to dealing with criminals, and as such, each one has its own set of laws as well as associated deterrents. Punishments are the result of criminal acts. To put this simply, the main goals of punishment are to uphold social order and provide relief to the victim. It can also be termed as the imposition of some form of deprivation by censorship rights that a person is legally entitled to. The object of punishment varies from society to society and the nature or severity of criminal act.

The main objects of punishment are:
  • to discourage future criminals to shield society from bad elements
  • to stop those who have committed crimes from committing new crimes.
  • enforce laws and policies to prevent crime in the nation.
  • To eradicate evils, reform criminals, and rehabilitate them into law-abiding citizens.

Punishment for crime:
People have long been inclined to come up with cruel punishments for accused witches, criminals, etc. Even the brutality of the ancient Indian penal system was evident. Therefore, it would not be incorrect to state that throughout history, incredibly cruel and horrific means of death and punishment have taken place around the world. A few examples of these techniques include being pushed down a cliff, crushed by an elephant, the boiling method, and other similar practices.

Section 53 of the Indian penal code 1860, provides the types of punishment for a criminal act- death sentence, imprisonment for life, simple and rigorous imprisonment, forfeiture of property and fine. These punishments are based on various theories that have been historically developed around the world. The major theories in India4 are retributive theory, deterrent theory, preventive theory and reformative theory

Retributive Theory Of Punishment:
The famous saying "Tit for Tat," "Eye for Eye," or "Teeth for Teeth" serves as the foundation for this theory. This theory's primary goal is to make the victim of the offender's actions suffer almost as much suffering as they did. Primitive societies mostly used punishment as retaliation. This idea of punishment is not very favourable due to humanitarian reasons because it disproportionately harms the accused.

Deterrent Theory of Punishment:
The hedonistic principle-which states that a man would be prevented from committing a crime if the punishment was quick, certain, and severe�is the foundation of this theory, which Jeremy Bentham developed. The idea aims to prevent criminals from committing the same crime or being involved in it again. Members of society who suffer as a result of that crime can learn from this theory. It creates a fear of punishment in those who share its ideologies. The punishment for a crime should be related to the offence committed.

However, it becomes evident that the "deterrent theory" is either completely inappropriate or may not be effective enough to stop crimes by instilling dread in people's thoughts if we apply it in the current environment. The "Nirbhaya Rape Case, 2012"5 is a recent illustration of why the deterrent theory is ineffective. The most important case to bring up when discussing the deterrent theory of punishment is this one. Four of the six perpetrators in the horrific Delhi gang rape case were given the death penalty by the Supreme Court. Rape crimes are rising daily in our society.

It is being argued in the Nirbhaya gang rape judgment that "India's Daughter" has finally received justice. Even though the ruling was rendered seven years after the incident occurred, it will help to ensure women's safety and stop rape situations in the future. However, it appears to be getting worse, as several rape incidents have continued to increase.

Preventive Theory of Punishment:
The preventive theory is also referred to as the "theory of disablement". According to this theory, the purpose of punishment is not to seek revenge but rather to deter crime. The philosophy behind preventive theory states that swiftness is a crucial component of a good preventive theory and that it acts as an effective deterrent. Further advanced versions of this argument maintained that the purpose of punishment is to deter crime.

When the offender and his criminal act behaviours are tracked down, crimes can be avoided. Disabling makes the check possible. There could be several kinds of disablement. One type of restricted disablement that is temporary is confinement within a prison; another type of unlimited disablement is permanent (life imprisonment).

It implies that the most effective way to prevent crime is to imprison offenders since this keeps them away from society and prevents them from committing the same crime. This philosophy also underpins the death penalty.

Another type of deterrent hypothesis is this one. One goal is to dissuade society, and the other is to stop the criminal from committing the crime.

Reformist Theory of Punishment:
The rehabilitation of criminals is the goal of theoretical punishment. The purpose of this theory is to change the mindset of the criminal and rehabilitate him into a law-abiding member of society. A criminal remains a person, even if he commits a crime under certain circumstances. He must not commit the crime again under the same circumstances. Crime is a mental illness caused by a number of antisocial factors. Thus, psychological treatment of criminals rather than punishing them achieves the goal. Criminals who receive training are able to demonstrate appropriate social behaviour. The main motive is to rehabilitate the criminal.

The theory suggests that crime is a disease. The ultimate goal of reformers is to try to bring about a change in the personality and character of the criminal, so that he becomes a useful member of society. But this is the beginning of a new story - the story of the gradual renewal of man, his gradual rebirth, transition from one world to another, initiation into a new unknown life.

Underlines the basic principle of reformist theory. reformation of the criminal and the beginning of a new life. The efforts to abolish the death penalty began in 19566.with the presentation of a bill to the Lok Sabha, but the same could not be. The most recent and humane theories are based on the principle of reforming criminals through individual treatment.

Since this theory does not consider criminals to be subhuman, it introduces the changing nature of today's society, which is currently examining the fact that all other theories have

failed to provide a stable theory that would prevent new crimes from occurring. While it may be true that there is more crime today than in the past, it can also be argued that many criminals are also reforming and living law-abiding lives together. Reform techniques are

much closer to warning techniques. Reformation based on deterrence meant that through punishment the criminal admitted his guilt and wanted to change. Its formal and influential punishment of social condemnation was seen as an important means of achieving this recognition. In the same way, others can be made aware that a crime is wrong by means of another punishment and, as it were, reform; before they actually commit the crime. But while that is indeed part of rehabilitation, rehabilitation as a theory is usually about the treatment of the criminal.

Laws dealing with Reformist principle
Articles 72 and 161 of the Indian constitution

Article 72 of the Constitution of India, 1950 authorizes the President of India to pardon an offender. The Governor of the State also has the same power under Article 161 of the Constitution of India. If pardoned by the President, the sentence and punishment of the convicted person will be completely discharged from all punishments, penalties and

disqualifications. The authority to forgive arises to avoid injustice, whether it is harsh, unjust laws or judgments that result in injustice; Consequently, it has been consistently recognized that giving this authority to somebody other than the judiciary is essential.

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
The ideology of child criminalization is one of the central parts of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The purpose of the law is to restore children. and

make them competent members of the community. This is demonstrated by the fact that children under the age of 18 (16 for heinous crimes) are referred to as criminals rather than felons.

Some of the main features that represent the robust nature of the Juvenile Justice Act are:
  • Sec 14: Even if the offense committed by the child is non-bailable, the Board can release the child on bail under the Juvenile Justice Act. or place the child under the supervision of a probation officer.
  • Sec 18: If a child under the age of 16 is convicted of a crime, the Juvenile Justice Act can order counselling or community service or a fine (to be paid by the parents) or release the child on probation or send them away. him to a special home for a maximum of three years. In addition, the board has the authority to direct the offending child's access to education, vocational training, treatment or addiction programs.
  • Sec 21. No child can be punished with life imprisonment or death. Section 40 of: According to the Juvenile Rights Act, the purpose of a children's institution should be to exchange children

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973:
Section 27 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC) 1973 provides that every offense not punishable with imprisonment for life or with death when committed by a person who is less than 16 years of age at the date of entry or is of a judicial nature be granted by the Chief Justice or any court specially empowered under the Children Act 1960 or any other

legislation in force relating to care, guidance and rehabilitation services for young people. Sec 360 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows the court to grant probation on good behaviour or on a warning.

According to sec 432 of the CrPC, the government has a legal right under this section that if a person has been convicted of any punishment, the government can suspend or cancel the punishment in whole or in part at any time.

According to sec 433 of the Criminal Code, the government can substitute or substitute the punishment of the guilty as follows- death sentence for any other punishment, life sentences up to 14 years, from rigorous imprisonment to simple imprisonment.

Parole is the permission for a prisoner to be released before the end of his sentence, provided he performs well in society. It can be temporary or permanent release before serving a sentence in return for good behavior during imprisonment. Historically, parole is a familiar term in military law, meaning the release of a prisoner of war on a promise to return. Parole is based on the principle of individual treatment of criminals and includes a program of counselling and assistance for criminals, or prisoners who have been sentenced to prison.

Parole is also known as the early release of criminals after strict supervision of long-term prisoners according to the rules set by various governments. A condition for early release from prison is his behavior in society and his consent to live in a parole facility under the guidance and supervision of a parole officer [9]. Parole may begin at any time after the inmate has served at least one-third of the total sentence, but before final release.

Parole is a day of mercy, not a court case. Probation is an integral part of sentencing. This is a kind of reward for prisoners to help them return to the mainstream of life. It is nothing but a means of social rehabilitation of prisoners within the confines of imprisonment.

Open Jail system:
This theory is based on the goal that punishment should be reformation of the criminal through the method of individuation. We must introduce the humanistic principle that even if a criminal commits a crime, he does not cease to be a human being. Therefore, whenever the judge imposes a sentence, it is important for the judge to examine the nature and age of the culprit, his early education, upbringing and environment, the circumstances of the crime, the object of the crime. and other factors. Its purpose is to inform the judge of the exact nature of the circumstances so that he can impose a sentence appropriate to the circumstances.

In India, the concept of an open prison system can be traced back to 1836, when the first All India Prison Committee was formed. The results were not satisfactory, however, and several committees were subsequently appointed, the most important of which was the All India Committee on Prison Reforms, 1956. The most prominent committee that played an

important role in developing the open prison system in India was the Mulla committee. The first open prison was established in 1905 in Bombay Presidency, India. The prisoners were selected from the special category of prisoners in Thane Central Jail, Bombay. However, this opening prison was closed in 1910. The first open prison was established by the state of Uttar Pradesh in 1953 to build a dam across the Chandraprabha River near Banaras.

There are a total of 63 open prisons in India and Rajasthan has the maximum number of open prisons at 29. The concept of open prison was introduced so that inmates with good conduct and behavior could blend into society without fear of being let out by the. society. In addition, it gives prisoners the opportunity to meet their family members and be in the social process. It also reduces overcrowding in controlled prisons. It is generally observed that prisoners in controlled prisons are not provided with good living conditions and are treated badly. Open prisons allow them to live in better conditions, with no or minimal security, which reduces the chances of abuse and helps them live with dignity.

Rehabilitation of criminal is a process that aims to help offenders reintegrate into society and lead productive lives. It involves various programs and services that address the needs and risks of the offenders, such as education, vocational training, counselling, substance abuse

treatment, and community support. Rehabilitation of criminal has many benefits for both the offenders and the society. It can reduce recidivism, enhance public safety, save costs, and promote human rights. However, rehabilitation of criminal also faces many challenges, such as lack of resources, staff, and coordination, resistance from the offenders and the public, and ethical dilemmas.

Therefore, rehabilitation of criminal requires a holistic and collaborative approach that involves the government, the judiciary, the correctional system, the civil society, and the offenders themselves. Rehabilitation of criminal is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but a dynamic and flexible process that adapts to the changing needs and circumstances of the offenders and the society.

Rehabilitation of criminal is based on the premise of reformative theory of punishment that offenders can change their behavior and attitudes, and that they deserve a second chance to become law-abiding citizens. It recognizes the potential of the offenders to contribute to the social and economic development of the country, and to restore their dignity and self-esteem.

Rehabilitation of criminal also acknowledges the rights and interests of the victims, and seeks to provide them with justice, compensation, and healing. Rehabilitation of criminal is a humane and effective way of dealing with crime, as it focuses on the root causes and the consequences of the criminal behavior, rather than on the punishment and the isolation of the offenders. Rehabilitation of criminal is a proactive and preventive measure that can reduce

the incidence and severity of crime, and improve the quality of life of the offenders, the victims, and the society at large.

  1. 156th Law Commission Report on Indian Penal Code, August 1997, VOL 1
  2. Immanuel Kant, the philosophy of law (W.Hastie trans., 1887)
  3. Rajendra Prasad V. State of Uttar Pradesh 1979 INDLAW SC 277
  4. Constitution Of India, 1950
  5. Indian Penal Code, 1860
  6. Criminal Procedure of Code, 1973
Written By:
  1. Vikash Shankar (Author) 3rd Year Law Student Amity Law School, Noida
  2. Adtiya Garkoti, 3rd Year Law Student Amity Law School, Noida and
  3. Shivam Gaur, 3rd Year Law Student Amity Law School, Noida

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