Probation is a way of sending good idea in the mind of offenders. It is probably the first stage of the correctional scheme. The object of probation is to keep delinquent away from evil consequences and offer him an opportunity leads socially useful life without violating the law and as of all methods of treatment is the ultimate rehabilitation of the offender in the community. On the other hand Parole has emerged as one of the most acceptable form of correctional device in modern penology. It has been universally recognized as one of the most appropriate methods of treatment of offenders for their reformation and rehabilitation in the normal society after the final release. It can be said that parole is the last stage of correctional scheme.
PROBATION: MEANING, MERIT AND DEMERITS
The term ‘probation’ is derived from the Latin word ‘probare’ which means ‘to test’ or ‘to prove’. Etymologically, probation means ‘I prove my worth’. Probation is one of the measures which may be used by Courts as an improved form of non-custodial alternative in place of incarceration. This correctional device is being increasingly used by the magistracy in modern times. It aims at rehabilitation of offenders by returning them to society during the period of supervision rather than sending them into an unnatural and socially unhealthy atmosphere of prisons. The offender is allowed to remain in the community and develop as a normal human being in his own natural surroundings.Probation is also defined “as the postponement of final judgment or sentence in a criminal case, giving the offender an opportunity to improve his conduct and to readjust himself to the community, often on condition imposed by the court and under the guidance or supervision of an officer of the court.”
In India, probation is used as an institutional method of treatment which is a necessary appendage of the concept of crime and probation received statutory recognition for the first time in 1898 through Section 562 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (now Section 360 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973).
Probation is governed by the provisions of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. In the case of Ramji Missar v. State of Bihar,it was held that the Probation of offenders Act provides for the release of offenders on probation or after due admonition and for matters connected therewith. The purpose behind the enactment of this Act is to top conversion of youthful offenders into stubborn criminals as a result of their association with hardened criminal of mature age in case of youthful offenders are sentenced to undergo imprisonment in jail.
Here it is important to discuss the scope of probation under provisions of Section 360 of Cr.P.C., 1973 and under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. It is clear from the case of Chhanni v. State of U.P., in which the Supreme Court held that the enforcement Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 in particular area excludes the applicability of provisions of Section 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the scope of Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act is much wider than Section 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which relates only to persons not under the age of 21 years, convicted for offences punishable with fine only or with imprisonment up to 7 years, and any woman convicted of an offence not punishable with death or imprisonment for life .
Merits and Demerits of Probation
Following are the merits or advantages of probation:-
- It is most useful in the case of juvenile delinquents.
- It gives hope for the rehabilitation of the offender who has not committed the offence.
- Probation is a way of sending good idea in the mind of offenders.
- It is helpful for both hardcore and youthful offenders.
- It helps in reducing the crowding in the jails.
Following are the demerits or disadvantages of probation:-
- The threat of further punishment should also be incurred in the mind of prisoners. Here there is no threat in the mind of prisoner.
- It decreases the average penalty.
PAROLE: MEANING, MERITS AND DEMERITS
Parole is a release from prison after part of the sentence has been served, the prisoner still conditions until discharged and liable to return to the institution for violation of any of these conditions. It helps in reducing over-crowding in prisons. According to Donald Taft, “Parole is a release from prison after part of the sentence has been served, the prisoner still remaining in custody and under stated conditions until discharged and liable to return to the institution for violation of any of these conditions. According to J.L. Gillin, “Parole is the release from a penal or reformative institution, of an offender who remains under the control of correctional authorities, in an attempt to find out whether he is fit to live in the free society without supervision.
The Supreme Court in Smt. Poonam Lata v. Wadhawan & Others,has clarified that parole is a grant of partial liberty or lessening of restrictions to a convict prisoner, but release on parole does not, in any way, change the status of the prisoner.
In the case of Avtar Singh v. State of Haryana,the Supreme Court held that generally speaking, the act of granting parole is an administrative action and parole is a form of temporary release from prison custody, which does not suspend the sentence of the period of detention, but provides conditional release from the prison and changes the mode of undergoing the sentence.
The main objectives of parole technique as stated in the Model Prison Manual are:-
- To enable the inmate to maintain continuity with his family life and deal with family matters;
- To save the inmate from the evil effects of continuous prison life;
- To enable the inmate to retain self-confidence and active interest in life.
In India, the grant of Parole is largely governed by the rules made under the Prison Act, 1894 and Prisoner Act, 1900. In parole there is a Parole Board consists of parole administrators who are from among the respectable members of society. These members are assigned the function of discharging convicted prisoners on parole after careful scrutiny. They are performing a quasi-judicial function.
Merits and Demerits of Parole
Following are the merits or advantages of parole:-
- It creates hopes among other prisoners.
- Once you have been released on parole, there is the opinion of the society is liberal.
- Securing family life of the parolee.
- It eradicate over burden of the jails.
- It is also economical to the State. The cost of expenditure of parolee also decreases.
- It creates threats on the mind of the parolee to maintain good conduct in the society.
Following are the demerits or disadvantages of parole:-
- If any negligence in the selection of the parolee, it results in serious consequences.
- Parole Board is bound to act on the aid and advice of the jail authority.
- It is not necessary that the prisoners who are maintaining their good conduct in the prisons will maintain their good conduct in the society.
- Political interference.
- Ill-treatment and doubtful behaviour by the society makes him impediment in his character development.
COMPARISON/DISTINCTION BETWEEN PROBATION AND PAROLE
Probation and parole can be differentiated on the following grounds:-
- Historical Evolution:- The system of probation owes its origin to John Augustus of Boston (U.S.A.) around 1841 whereas the system of parole came into existence much later somewhere around 1900.
- Punitive Reaction:- In probation, there is no punitive reaction to the crime. It is purely a treatment of offender. But in parole, the punitive reaction to the crime is present. Few part of sentence is served i.e. punitive.
- Nature:- Probation is judicial in nature whereas parole is quasi-judicial in nature and civilized or respected members of society constitute Parole Board.
- Sentence:- In probation, no such formal penalty is imposed, if imposed is not executed. But parole is granted after serving a part of sentence in prison.
- Substitute for Punishment:- Probation is granted as a substitute of the punishment. But parole is granted after completing a part of sentence.
- Punishment and Treatment:- Probation is only a treatment in which the sentence is suspended. But parole implies both punishment and treatment.
- Stage:- Probation is probably the first stage of correctional scheme whereas parole is the last stage of correctional scheme.
- Stigma or Disqualification:- No stigma in case of probation because use no sentence whereas a prisoner released on parole suffers stigmatization as a convicted criminal in the society.
Probation in which the offender is given a conditional release under supervision before a custodial sentence but parole is a conditional release of offenders under supervision after a custodial sentence. Generally speaking that the purpose of probation is to keep delinquent away from evil consequences and offer him an opportunity leads socially useful life without violating the law and as of all methods of treatment is the ultimate rehabilitation of the offender in the community.
It is difficult to define parole in terms of a single precise concept. It is an integral part of the total correctional process. In a sense parole is a method of selectivity releasing offenders from institutions, under supervision in the community, whereby the community is afforded continuing protection while the offender is making his adjustment and beginning his contribution to society. Parole is granted to a prisoner under certain special circumstances. It is subjected to certain limitations and conditions imposed by the releasing authority.
 Paranjape N.V. Prof., Criminology and Penology with Victimology, 16th Edition, Central Law Publications, Allahabad, 2014, p.573.
 Taft R. Donald, Criminology (4th Ed.) p.375.
 AIR 1963 SC 1088.
 AIR 2006 SC 3051.
 Taft R.Donald, Criminology (4th Ed.) p.485.
 Gillin J.L., Criminology and Penology (3rd Ed.) p.339.
 AIR 1987 SC 1383.
 (2002) 2 SCC (Cri.) 504.
 Paranjape N.V. Prof., Criminology and Penology with Victimology, 16th Edition, Central Law Publications, Allahabad, 2014, p. 571.