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Most families experience financial losses as a result of parental incarceration and the loss is greatest for those families who try to maintain the convicted individual as a family member. There are the costs of maintaining the household, the loss of income of the imprisoned parent who was contributing to the household, legal fees associated with criminal defense and appeals, the costs associated with maintaining contact during imprisonment and the costs of maintaining the prisoner while he is in prison.

Grandparents and other relatives, who take care of the children of incarcerated fathers/mothers, certainly incur additional financial expenses.

The protection, care, and nurturance of prisoners’ children is a primary concern of prisoners and their families. When parents go to prison, most children go, or continue, to live with relatives. Accordingly, prisoners and their families experience a tremendous sense of loss when incarceration occurs and that loss is compounded when children are involved.

Prisoners’ children and families must also deal with feelings of shame and social stigma. Imprisonment is neither a reason for celebration nor a reason to be proud. It is not the goal one seeks for oneself or one’s children. Many family members do not tell even their closest friends about a relative’s incarceration and go to great lengths to protect the prisoner’s children from the consequences of revealing this family secret.


Schemes, programmes and activities that assist prisoners in carrying out family roles and responsibilities  provide sound reasons to promote and adopt policies which help prisoners maintain family ties and help families carry out their family obligations and responsibilities for their children.

Thus, the idea of Social Defence emerged from

•    the desire to bring about the amelioration of the offender through his re-education &
•    the desire to promote the concept that an offender is also a human being to whom human treatment should be applied

The concept of social defence leads to a true judicial humanism; such that punishment must be regulated safely by consideration of social defence. Prisons are no longer places for detention of criminals only, but have acquired a new dimension as therapeutic centres to reform the personality and behavior pattern of prisoners.

According to the Constitution of India, all the subjects of social defense fall within the jurisdiction of the State Governments. Some of these subjects like criminal law and criminal procedure are on the concurrent list of the constitution but the implementation of legislations pertaining to these areas is the responsibility of the State Governments.

In India, the social defense programmes include mainly the following subjects

1.    Prevention and control of juvenile delinquency
2.    Probation services
3.    Prison welfare services
4.    Prevention of Immoral Traffic
5.    Anti-beggary programmes
6.    After- care and rehabilitation of ex-convicts
7.    Correctional training and Research

Probation

The age-old idea was that the offender should be confined to the prison and kept away from the community as long as possible. But, in course of time, it has been realized that the protection of society is better ensured if the offender is corrected and reformed through individualized treatments.

However, it has been perceived that all human beings do not respond in the same manner to a given stimuli. Two individuals may commit the same crime but each act differs from the other in its social, economics, psychological and environmental ramification. This basic understanding has led to the innovation of a number of treatment method for offenders.

Prison or correctional institutions are no longer regarded as custodial institution only but also as treatment and training centres for those who fall foul with laws. But, in due course it was realized that prisons do not serve the purpose of training and rehabilitation of all categories of offenders. Therefore, in course of time, various non-institutional methods of treatment for offenders have been introduced eg: probation, parole, premature release, half-way houses etc. There are all community based non institutional treatment methods.

Thus, Probation is a non-institutional treatment method designed to facilitate the social re-adjustment of offenders. It developed as an alternative to imprisonment. Probation is a method of dealing with specially selected offenders and consists of the conditional suspension of punishment while the offender is placed under the personal supervision of the probation officer and is given individualized treatment.

The length of the probation varies and is determined by the court. Moreover, probation is the application of modern scientific casework to individuals, outside institution with the authority of the law behind it. It calls for the careful study of the individual and intensive supervision  by the competent, trained probation officers.

The object of probation is the ultimate re-establishment of the offenders in the community. The law helps him to help himself to erase the stigma of conviction and gives him the guidance of the probation officer.

The supervisory function of a Probation Officer are protecting the community and helping individual under care. The probation officer helps the probationer to become law-abiding and stable. During the probation period, the probation officer maintains contact with the offender to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations and also provides various types of assistance to him.

Schemes / Programmes

 

Social Defence Related - Policies / Acts / Rules

Probation of Offenders Act, 1958

Financial Assistance to Ex-Convicts, Probationers, Ex-Pupils and Ex-Inmates Rules

 
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