855 words essay on the Probationers
Every year between 15 and 16 thousand offenders are released on probation under supervision in our country. Of these, about 93 per cent are males and 7 per cent are females.
In terms of age, about 14 per cent are under 16 years of age, 17 per cent belong to 16-20 years age group, 31 per cent belong to 21-30 years age group, 26 per cent belong to 31-40 years age group, 10 per cent belong to 41-60 years age group, and 2 per cent are above 60 years of age (Social Defence, January 1990: 62).
Thus, since about half of the probationers belong to the age group of 1630 years, it may be inferred that young offenders benefit more by this system. Among the juvenile delinquents, though Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 suggests release on probation in as many eligible cases as possible, but the given figures point out that only two-third juveniles get the benefit of probation.
For example, in 1998, 18,964 juveniles were arrested and sent to courts under IPC and SLL offences. Of these, 2,620 (13.8%) were sent to homes, 2,107 (11.1%) were acquitted and 6,860 (36.2%) cases remained pending. Thus, out of remaining 7,377 delinquents punished, 4,718 (64%) were given the benefit of probation (Crime in India, 1998: 255).
In terms of education, about 52 per cent probationers are illiterate and 48 per cent are literate. In terms of marital status, about 44 per cent are married, 54 per cent are unmarried, and 2 per cent are widowed/divorced/separated.
As regards the nature of employment, about 42 per cent are engaged in agriculture, 35 per cent are daily wage-earners, 8 per cent are engaged in service or some occupation, and 15 per cent are not employed (ibid.: 64). Lastly, the term of ‘probation’ points out that about 60 per cent probationers are kept on probation up to one year, 35 per cent for one to two years, and 5 per cent for two to three years (ibid.: 63).
The nature of employment of the 73 per cent employed probationers showed that 54 Per cent were self-employed (cobblers, cycle-repairers, auto-scooter- avers, rickshaw-pullers, fruit-sellers, mechanics, painters, etc.), 18 per cent were daily wage-earners, and 1 per cent were in service.
In terms of crime, 26 per cent were convicted for theft, 20 per cent Pick pocketing, 16 per cent for fighting, 14 per cent for dealing in liquor, 8 per cent for attempt to murder, 8 per cent for possessing weapons, 6 per cent for ticketless travelling, and 2 per cent for peddling in drugs.
The period of probation was one year in 67 per cent cases, two years in 30 per cent cases, and three years in 3 per cent cases. It was further found that 90 per cent probationers had their meetings with the probation officers every month, while 10 per cent met them fortnightly. Mostly, the meetings took place in the offices of the probation officers. The probationers’ homes were visited by the probation officers rather rarely.
Twenty-one per cent probationers revealed that probation officers had visited their homes only once, 16 per cent twice, and 63 per cent never. Further, 30 per cent considered probation supervision useful to them, while 70 per cent did not consider it useful, as the probation officers were not able to solve their problems or build up their confidence.
No probationer considered probation officer as his friend or guide. Two-third (66%) probationers described their visits to the office of probation officers as a mere ritual and a formality.
The probationers stated that the probation officers only asked casual questions like whether they faced any problems or whether they were harassed by the police; they never tried to establish personal rapport with them or gave them any personal affection.
The probation officers hardly even gave them more than five to ten minutes on every visit. In spite of such perceptions about the probation officers, all probationers perceived probation as a good device for saving criminals from the ill-effects of imprisonment.
They were all happy to be on probation, though very few of them considered supervision to be of much use and benefit. All this shows that though probation system is appreciated by the probationers yet they want changes in its implementation, particularly in the services rendered by the probation officers.