Saturday, 29 January 2022

Penology in Criminal Justice


Penology and administration of Justice

By Shreya Verma 

The term penology has been derived from the word ‘poena’, a Latin phrase which means punishment. Penology is concerned with the study of different aspects of punishment and its impact on criminals and the society. It aims to study and evaluate application of penal sanctions (punishments) on wrong-doer. Origin of this systematic analysis of punishments and its impact is not very difficult to trace as it is of a recent origin. It is said that it was Cesare Beccaria, the father of classical school of criminology who came up with the idea that punishments must be to deter potential criminals and not merely to punish the offenders. 

Earlier punishments had more deterrent effect they were passed with a view of setting an example for the society. But now the modern penologists attempt to adapt the treatment of each offender in accordance with the diagnosis obtained by scientific study of criminal. Even the Supreme Court holds the same view. In Santa Singh v. State of Punjab (1976), the court held that a proper sentence must be based on nature of offence, circumstances, previous record of offenders, age, education, employment and family background of the offenders and the possibility of social adjustment and reformation etc. 

Now that we have got to know the meaning and evolution of Penology, the main question that arises is “How this multi-disciplinary subject penology is important and how is it related to crime and criminals? 

For that we have to understand what penology ought to do? It is basically concerned with a thorough examination of formal institutions of criminal justice like police, courts, and correctional institutions. It deals with the process of punishment, how it is administered, treatment of criminals and prevention of criminals to indulge in such activities. 

There are various forms of punishments that are prevalent. Indian Penal Code provides 5 kinds of punishments namely- Death sentence, Life imprisonment, Imprisonment (rigorous or simple), forfeiture of property and fine. Penology deals with the offence and the offenders in an individualistic manner i.e., what punishment is suitable for that particular case. It is concerned with prison and prison reforms, rights of prisoners as well as theories of the purposes of punishment. The system of prison is linked with system of imprisonment which originated in first quarter of nineteenth century and was earlier harsher as compared to the one we have now. The reforms that brought humanitarian approach towards the treatment of offenders are a consequence of thought of modern penologists. The main function of penology may be summarised as follows:

  • To prevent criminal offences by repression or inhibition of criminal intent via the fear of punishment. 

  • Another major function of penology is to look after the criminal’s mind when he is in prison to avoid further crimes. 

  • Modern penology adopts a constructive approach in treating offenders to reform and rehabilitate them in society as good citizens. 

  • To bring about a better prison system by focusing more on eliminating criminal mentality than criminals. 

  • By bringing about prison reforms by introduction of concepts such as parole, reformative centers and open prisons. 

  • It focuses on improvising police system. 

  • It classifies potential offenders from those who have a scope of reformation and treats them differently. 

Through these measures penology ensures administration of justice among all and intend to provide fair treatment even to wrong doers.

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