Speech on the Reformative Theory of Punishment

First these causes shall be removed. Then automatically the crimes will be reduced. Criminal behaviour is also reduced in the society. The modern psycho-analysts, criminologists, penologists, sociologists, political leaders, etc., are behind this modern theory.

Gandhiji said: “Hate the sin, but not sinner.” Entire reformative theory is depended upon this principle.

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Purpose:

In “Sunil Batra’s case” (1980), the Supreme Court opined: “The object of punishment is to correct the wrongdoer and not wrecking vengeance on him.” The modern penology recognizes that punishment is no longer regarded as Retributive or Deterrent, but it is regarded as “Reformative” or “Rehabilitative”.

There are several treatments and medicines for every disease. Like this, the criminal behaviour is also a disease. First it shall have to be cured. The creating factors of this disease are inherent in every society.

Man is born in society. Due to several reasons, he becomes a criminal. No person willfully becomes as a criminal. If these factors and causes are treated efficiently, no doubt, there will be no single offender in the society.

For this treatment, the Government should formulate effective procedures and policies, the Government officers should dedicate to implement them, the people should give moral support to their programmes, etc. Poorness is the root cause of several crimes. If the poverty is removed, several crimes can be mitigated.

(Hyderabad) Mushirabad Central Jail Superintendent, Sri C.H. Ramakrishna told to the Press that out of 1000 prisoners, 282 came for theft, 154 for murder, 105 for prohibition of liquor cases, 38 for assault, and majority of the prisoners belong to poor and middle class families only.

He also expressed that the majority of the prisoners are youth. He opined that if the poverty is removed from the society, and the unemployment problem is solved, the majority of the criminals will be decreased.

He statistically explained that the habitual offenders who are sent to his jail are the thieves, and their number comes to 25 per cent of the total prisoners.

Therefore, the criminologists and sociologists, opine that for majority of crimes “poorness” is the real enemy. If the road is good, any vehicle can go speedily. If the road is spoiled, no vehicle can travel.

Similarly, if there are defects, viz., poorness, illiteracy, unemployment, etc., in the society, how the criminal behaviour is mitigated?

Once a person is sent to prison, the society humiliates him. It cannot forgive him. To meet the police and court expenses, such person is compelled to incur huge amounts, and in majority times all his assets. He loses his job. He loses his lover or wife and family members. The society does not welcome him back. It treats him as a “criminal forever”. This compels him to become a recidivist.

There are physical and psychological factors compelling a person to commit a crime. If those factors are not removed, he repeats such crimes. First, all these vices must be removed from the society.

If the Courts are continuously punishing the criminal after criminal, the number of criminals will be doubled within a year. Like this, the criminal behaviour will spread in entire society. Thus entire society will be diseased and is pushed into a state, which cannot be cured later.

People afraid goondaism. They will not react it. Therefore, goondas have become ward members to MPs. and even Central Ministers. It is the fault of the political system.

People should refrain to give their votes to such people. Criminals are establishing parties. The present criminal justice system is unable to prevent the crimes, and is also unable to protect the innocents.

This theory also recommends committing the criminals into prisons. But those prisons should not be consisted with iron and cement walls. The prisoners must be treated as patients. They must be taught education and any professional skills.

The reformists suggest eradicating all defects in the society and the individuals. They also suggest removing capital punishments, life imprisonments, rigorous imprisonments, etc. They suggest educating the criminals in academic and in any technical course, and also moral education.

The prison officials should behave with the criminals with courtesy and on humanitarian grounds, treating them as patients during their imprisonment. After their release too, the society should not hate them. It should behave with good manners, so that the past remnants of criminal behaviour should not be remained to them.

The society should not humiliate the offenders, who returned from the prison. By such treatment only, there is safety to the society.

If the society humiliates the offenders came on parole, probation or after completing the imprisonment, such offenders determine strongly to do illegal acts. They revolt against the society. Thus the criminal behaviour is increased. There is complete responsibility upon the society and Government.

M Ps. and even Central Ministers. It is the fault of the political system. People should refrain to give their votes to such people. Criminals are establishing parties. The present criminal justice system is unable to prevent the crimes, and is also unable to protect the innocents.

This theory also recommends committing the criminals into prisons. But those prisons should not be consisted with iron and cement walls. The prisoners must be treated as patients. They must be taught education and any professional skills.

The reformists suggest to eradicate all defects in the society and the individuals. They also suggest removing capital punishments, life imprisonments, rigorous imprisonments, etc. They suggest educating the criminals in academic and in any technical course, and also moral education.

The prison officials should behave with the criminals with courtesy and on humanitarian grounds, treating them as patients during their imprisonment. After their release too, the society should not hate them.

It should behave with good manners, so that the past remnants of criminal behaviour should not be remained to them. The society should not humiliate the offenders, who returned from the prison. By such treatment only, there is safety to the society.

If the society humiliates the offenders came on parole, probation or after completing the imprisonment, such offenders determine strongly to do illegal acts. They revolt against the society.

Thus the criminal behaviour is increased. There is complete responsibility upon the society and Government. It is the primary duty of the society to welcome such offenders, and to give love and affection.

It is also the duty of the Government to formulate the policies and procedures for the criminals, and to allot the necessary funds, and see that their programmes are implemented without failure. If the Government gives only “lip service”, it does not help to reform the criminals.

Moreover, the number of criminals will be increased day by day. The Society and as well as the Government should give all help to the criminals returned from prison, so that they can start a new life and a new account and chapter

Result:

By the recommendations and suggestions of the modern penologists, sociologists, criminologists, psycho-analysts, jurists, etc., the countries all over the world had adopted certain reformative steps. “Juvenile Justice System”, “Probation of Offenders”, etc., are good examples. Majority of the Countries, including India, have already enacted such Acts.

Parole is also one of the Es reformative measures. Education and technical professions are taught in the prisons. They also suggest to keep the less tempered prisoners in open prisons, and to give the feeling of social security to such criminals.

There are provisions in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Criminal Procedure Kit Code, 1973 relating to give the treatment for lunatic offenders without sending them to prison. In the Western countries, there are legal provisions and arrangements for the prisoners to meet their sexual partners at regular intervals. However, in India, such arrangements are not made yet.

Rehabilitation and after care programmes:

According to the Reformative theory, much attention is taken to the rehabilitation and after care programmes. Such programmes yield good results in curbing recidivism. The rehabilitative and after care approaches are welcome throughout the world.

There are three types of programmes – (i) Psychological (e.g. Psycho-therapy and behaviour therapy); (ii) Educational (e.g. general equivalency diploma); and (iii) Vocational (training in any trade).

To teach any profession in the prison is the first step of reformation, and another to provide financial assistance to a released convict by Government and banks is another step. To give the guidance to in criminal-returned from prison to establish his own livelihood is rehabilitation. To give medical treatment for his psycho problems is also a rehabilitative and after care programme.

These programmes reduce the offender’s further criminal activity, and create a security for his life and mind. By this standard, the true test of rehabilitative success is non-involvement in crime following an offender’s participation in an intervention program.

For this reason, criminologists traditionally have examined recidivism rates of offenders who have and have not been exposed to rehabilitative intervention. Supporters of rehabilitation hope to see decreased recidivism rates, while those who seek non-reformative warehousing of inmates anticipate no such change.

Criticism:

No doubt to say that reformative theory is well and good. But to what extent and how much? Is it practicable to reform all the criminals of the society, including habitual offenders? The population is increasing day-by-day.

Urbanization, industrialization, new technology in every walk of life is increasing. Everybody has become busy. To-day’s man has no time to spare a little time for his fellow citizen. Some do not have time to spend with their children.

He calculates every minute with money. The middle class people are in hipocracy and they are also implicated with several problems. The last category people of poor are living themselves in miserable conditions.

Then who will spare the time to reform the criminals? First of all, the poverty must be eradicated. Our leaders give only “lip service” and “empty promises”, but in practice they do nothing.

However, they increase their assets, money, foreign money in swiss banks, buildings, factories, etc., by corruption. Corruption has spread in India from lowest subordinate of every Government Department to the Prime Minister level.

White-collar crimes swallow crores of public money. They destroy the prosperity of the country. Now the people of India look every political leader as a corrupted person.

As Sri Ch. Ramakrishna, Jail Superintendent said 25 per cent of prisoners are thieves of smaller amounts, and they are caught and punished by the State, if their poverty is removed, they can be reformed.

But who will remove the poverty and how it will be eradicated, when the concerned political leaders themselves have become big thieves of the public money and causing huge loss to the nation? Who will reform such political leaders? When fencing itself is eating the crop, who will protect the crop? How many Gandhiji are required to reform the present corrupt system in India?

Another point of criticism on the reformative theory is that the reformists think over deeply for the criminals. But they do not think over about the victims and victims’ dependants. What is the fate of victims and their families? Who will protect them? Who will provide livelihood to the wives and children of the victims.

Those wives and children are suffering for food, cloth and shelter, without any fault of them. Reformative theory does not say about those suffering victims.

Reformative theory shows sympathy of a criminal-rapist, and wants to reform his criminal mind to ordinary non-criminal mind. Then what about the woman or girl raped by him? Who will provide safety, livelihood in the society?

Why don’t the reformists calculate all these matters before formulating any reformative methods to the criminals? On 8-3-1993, Chalapatni Rao and Vijayavardhana Rao plundered the R.T.C. bus at Chilakalooripeta, and burnt it pouring diesel and petrol on it along with its 32 passengers.

Manohar, a Sadist lover, brutally murdered Sree Lakshmi, a brilliant student, in Vijayawada. Shall the society pardon them, and give a chance to them to do another criminal act? Are not they deserved for death sentence? Can Gadsay be excused, who killed Gandhi?

Can the criminals be excused who killed Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi? Can Ranga and Billa be excused for killing minor children Geetha and Arjun? The critics of Reformative Theory strongly say that “No”. The cruel minded criminals should be punished severely.

Conclusion:

So far all the theories explain the imposition of punishment in their own thinking. However, each theory has its own merits and demerits. Whatever the opinions and findings of penologists, psycho-analysts, sociologists, criminologists, jurists regarding the punishments, the opinion of General People is:

“The interests of social defence and individualization of punishment may be combined in a rational sentencing process. And such combination must afford the peace to the society and safety to the individual. The only realistic alternative to punishment should be “coercive system of treatment.”

Sir Henry Maine concluded his opinion: “No uniform generally recognized and universal theory of punishment for all ages and for all people exists. All theories on the subject of punishment have more or less broken and we are at sea as to the first principles”.