Community Service As Punishment

Topics: Prison, Criminal justice, Crime Pages: 6 (1742 words) Published: October 8, 2014
Community service constitute an apologetic reparation that the person is now required to make to the community what he has wronged. The Indian Penal Code was the enacted in 1860 by virtue of the classic legal draftsmanship of Lord Macaulay. If there would have been a concept of community service prevalent at that time then the authors are sure that there would have been no need to urge the inclusion of the same in the Indian Penal Code. But since this exclusion by Macaulay is because of no fault of his it is our duty to incorporate such to meet the demands of the time and to make the IPC a living social document. Section 53 of the IPC [2] provides for the various types of punishments. But these are old and do not meet the exigencies of the present day globalised world. The authors yearn for inclusion of community service as a mode of punishment. Indian draftsmen have not overlooked the necessity of such a restorative mode in recent enactments. We find the inclusion of community service in The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 [3] (Section 15 [4] ).Community service is defined as an order that requires an offender (who must consent and be aged at least 16) to perform unpaid work for between 40 and 240 hours under the supervision of a probation officer. Formerly known as a Community Service Order. It can also be defined as

‘A community order which requires the offender to do unpaid work in the community under the supervision of a probation officer.’ [5] Moreover the work that the offender is required to undertake has some obvious relation to the nature of offence. [6] History of community service

The first organized community service program meant systematically to be used in place of short prison sentences were established in ad-hoc basis in California in the 1960’s. . Thus community service was indirect alternative to imprisonment. [7] In the United Kingdom, Parliament enacted legislation in the early 1970's giving the courts specific powers to order community service as a sentencing sanction. [8] In the early 1980’s after a series of private pilot projects the Dutch implemented community service nationwide and evaluators made comparable findings. [9] It was Lenin [10] who also stressed on the importance of community service. [11] Benefits of Community Service

Community service serves the goals of punishment, reparation, restitution and even rehabilitation. It is beneficial to the offenders [12] , the community [13] , the victim [14] and even to the courts. [15] So community service has both the social and the cognitive benefits. It also serves as an alternative to imprisonment (India has 32 prisoners per 1000 of population. We have 11094.25 lakhs prisoners in India as on 31 December 2005) [16] which is morally reprehensible and indefensible [17] . Moreover Prisons have proved ineffective in their object of reforming the criminals. Research indicates that about half of all prison inmates are likely to be rearrested and returned to prison, many soon after their release from an institution. [18] Contamination is the gist of prison life. Prisons are dens of criminality. The unsophisticated offender is compelled to associate with the hardened professional criminals and thereby he learns not only the techniques of committing the crime but also the specific drives, rationalisation and attitudes of crime. [19] The Community Service Program is intended to add some refinement by requiring the offender to put back into society through performing a job for the community. [20]

Not only do offenders need to be addressed as active participants rather than as passive recipient of punishment or treatment, but they also need to be positively motivated to engage in the process of change to law-abiding lives. Performing work for the community, as well as requiring offenders to pay back to the society helped them realize that they had contribution to make to the society. [21] Developments in India...
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