Probation Branch :
Origin of Probation:
Criminologists and Penologists of the previous and that of the present century gave more thrust to Correction of Offenders through Reformative and Rehabilitative measures than that of Deterrence and Retribution. Probation had its origin in America through John Augustus a cobbler in Boston who is known as ‘The Father of Probation.’ He bailed out 2000 men and women who were placed under his supervision and properly rehabilitated. In India the first Legislative effort was the incorporation of section 562 of code of Criminal Procedure 1898 for releasing the Offenders on Probation. This Section was amended in 1923 which gave the Courts enhanced powers to suspend the sentence considerably for more serious offences also.
In 1934 the Government of India informed the Provincial Government to enact their own legislation on Probation. The Old composite state of Madras was the first to adopt Probation after the enactment of ‘The Madras Probation of Offenders Act, 1936’ which was the first Probation of Offenders Act in India. This act was replaced by the Central Act known as ‘The Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, Central Act (IX of 1958). In pursuance of this Act, the Government of Tamil Nadu has also framed rules in 1962 to carry out this Act.
Meaning of Probation
Probation is a scientific method of treatment of selected offenders within the community placing them under the supervision of Probation Officers on certain conditions to be specified by the Courts. It is a conditional suspension of sentence and not a let off. It is an alternative to Imprisonment. As such it is called as non-institutional treatment.
Till 1946 the Probation Services were with the voluntary agencies and Discharged Prisoners Aid society. In G.O. Ms.No.1352, Home © Department dated 30.04.1946 Government ordered at first for the appointment of salaried one Chief Probation Superintendent and 20 District Probation Officers. Pending creation of new service called Probation Services, these posts were brought under The Tamil Nadu Jail Service and Tamil Nadu Jail Subordinate Service respectively. Hence the Probation Branch is under the control of Prison Department since 1946. Considering the increase of the work load in this Branch certain additional posts of Probation Officers and supervisory post of Regional Probation Officers were subsequently created by the Government. At present there are 87 Probation Officers, 9 Leave Reserve Probation Officers, 12 Regional Probation Officers and 1 Chief Probation Superintendent.
Importance of Probation Service
Probation is the most important branch of the Criminal Justice system. It is an alternative to Prisons which helps the reduction of Prison population and thereby enormous savings is made to the Government exchequer. It is a community based treatment. Hence the bread winner of the family is neither separated nor sent to the Prison but allowed to be within the family. The Probation Officers who are the “Eyes and Ears of the Court” help the court for the speedy disposal of cases referred to them under various Acts. Being the “Friend, Philosopher and Guide” to the wards under supervision the Probation Officers are talking all possible steps for their reformation, rehabilitation reintegration, resocialisation.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Probation Officers are enquiring and submitting Preliminary Enquiry Reports to Courts under The Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, The Borstal Schools Act, 1926, and The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. Report on the genuineness of Sureties appearing in the Court and the whereabouts of the Offenders in the NBW cases and witnesses are also sent to the Courts whenever called for. They are submitting enquiry reports regarding the release on Emergency / Ordinary leave and pre-mature release of Prisoners in Prisons. They are supervising the Offenders released under various Acts and Prisoners released prematurely from Prisons. They are checking the Police lock-up to avert illegal custody, and to improve the hygienic condition of the lock-ups. They are also visiting the Sub-Jails.
||Wards under Supervision at the end of the year
REGIONAL PROBATION OFFICERS
The Regional Probation Officers is the inspecting Officer of the Probation Officers under their jurisdiction. He co-ordinates the rehabilitation work by periodically conducting meeting with Probation Officers, arranging the meeting of the Discharged Prisoners Aid Society and contacting the Voluntary Agencies. He is inspecting the Sub Jail and visiting the Central Prison for welfare work. Moreover he is one of the members of the Advisory Board for premature release. He is also one of the four members of the committee headed by the District Collector for recommending the victim compensation fund.
There is one Regional Probation Officer, Research Cell in the Office of the Chief Probation Superintendent to under take research projects on topics connected with correctional administration.
CHIEF PROBATION SUPERINTENDENT
He is the administrative head of the Probation Branch and he is under the direct control of the Director General of Prisons. He is the State level touring Officer having jurisdiction over the entire State.
Rehabilitation is the back bone of Probation System. It is part and parcel of the Duties assigned to every Probation Officer. Apart from taking rehabilitation measures for the Probationers released by the Courts and placed under the supervision of the Probation Officers, they are also taking various steps for rehabilitating the prisoners released under the Advisory Board Scheme, Amnesty by Government etc., for whom they are appointed as After Care Officers. Securing employment in Government / Private undertaking, obtaining financial assistance from Discharged Prisoners Aid Society, Banks, N.G.O. etc., Settling family problems, arranging medical assistance, encouraging the savings habit by opening account in bank, guiding and counselliing and admitting the destitute children of the Prisoners and victims in a recognized homes run by the Government / N.G.Os, are the rehabilitation measures undertaken by the Probation Officers for the upliftment of the wards as well as their family members
STATEMENT OF REHABILITATION:
On the occasion of the release of 1405 lifers in commemoration of the birth centenary of Perarignar Anna on 15.09.2008, a rehabilitaton function was organized in Central Prison – 1, Puzhal, Chennai 66 on 15.09.2008 with the help of N.G.Os wherein financial as well as material assistance like Tailoring Machine, Bicycle, Beads and Needles and orders for employment in Private Sector undertaking (securities and Office boys) were extended to certain released prisoners by Shri. R.Natraj, I.P.S. the Director General of Prisons, Chennai.