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  • Aditi Slathia

Criminal Rehabilitation

Aditi Slathia( B.A.LL.B- 3rd Year) , Lovely Professional University


Rehabilitation means restoring persons or things to a former capacity; reinstating; qualifying again.

Rehabilitative sentencing aims to deter future offenses by the offender through a rehabilitation plan that may involve therapy, counseling, family intervention, cognitive-behavioral programs, skill development, etc. Rehabilitation was defined by the NSA Panel on Research on Rehabilitative Methods as the outcome of any deliberate action that lessens an offender's potential for future criminal conduct. According to the theory behind the rehabilitation model of punishment, people should be treated differently based on the unique requirements and situations that contributed to their delinquency. The rehabilitation model's beginnings in the US can be found in the years immediately following the American Revolution. The early Americans believed that if social chaos and a person's incapacity to resist temptation were the causes of crime, the best way to deal with it was to establish an atmosphere of order that would foster morality and discipline. Hence, reformers of this era set out to develop a brand-new type of punishment that could achieve objectives. Penitentiaries were used as punishment.

Rehabilitation seeks to alter the values of the offender so that he or she no longer desires to commit criminal acts: it involves the renunciation of wrongdoing by the offender and the re-establishment of the offender as an honorable law-abiding citizen and is achieved by ‘reducing or eliminating the factors which contributed to the conduct for which [the offender]is sentenced’. Some of the rehabilitation strategies that are included in the contemporary correctional programs of the majority of nations in the globe include the parole system, probation, indeterminate sentence, and open prisons. There are usually at least two reasons why an offender does not commit another crime: either they have undergone real moral change or they are afraid of receiving punishment once more.

The Concept of Rehabilitation

The idea of rehabilitation is based on the idea that various forces at work influence a person's criminal behavior. People's criminal behavior is influenced by a variety of internal and external circumstances. These elements could include a lack of affection from one or both parents, a traumatic upbringing, insecurity, antisocial values, a lack of supervision, an impulsive temper, and others. According to the rehabilitation model, a person does not commit a crime "at their own free will" but rather as a result of a number of variables that may have helped to motivate them to do so.

The notion of rehabilitation is not used as a result of the limited study since its efficacy is not well-defined or strongly supported. Nonetheless, it appears that there is a pressing need to switch the emphasis on punishment from a punitive to a rehabilitative strategy. Changes must be made from "nothing works" to "what works," and offenders must be assisted in their reintegration into society.

Only five types of punishment are listed in Section 53 of the Indian Criminal Code, 1860: death, life in prison, severe or simple labor in jail, forfeiture, and fine. According to the reformatory school of criminology, punishment is only justifiable if it focuses on the present rather than the past. According to them, punishment should be seen as starting a new account rather than settling an old one. The ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to stop repeat offenders from committing crimes (criminal recidivism) and to comprehend the factors that contribute to criminal behavior so that preventative measures can be done. A restorative justice program should be established to reduce the number of times criminals are imprisoned for infractions that are small, according to the Prison Evaluation and Suggested Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders report's primary recommendations.

In Mohammad Giasuddin v. State of Andhra Pradesh, V.R. Krishna Iyer, J. said that reformation should be the primary goal of punishment and that every attempt should be taken while a prisoner is being held to produce a good man out of a criminal.


"Hate the crime, not the offenders," said Mahatma Gandhi, the founder of the nation. Criminals are not born criminals; rather, they develop into criminals as a result of outside factors that play a part in motivating them to do wrong. Any cause could be one of those external factors, and occasionally society also contributes to their activation. But as crime rates have increased and the Indian judicial system has changed, the rehabilitation strategy has given convicts new options and improved their behavior. This strategy has numerous layers and is quiet and subdued. Everyone should be given the chance to grow, and determining the reason behind a crime should help the offender avoid committing the same mistake again. Therefore, it can be inferred that the current system of punishing offenders needs to be changed. The rehabilitative strategy will benefit society in many ways and will also benefit the offender by giving him the chance to right the wrong he has caused.


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