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NCJ Number: 77221 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing Process - A Personalized Prescription
Journal: Social Defence  Volume:15  Issue:60  Dated:(April 1980)  Pages:22-28
Author(s): S K Sharma
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 11
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: India
Annotation: Modern concepts of criminal behavior and trends towards personalized sentencing in India are discussed.
Abstract: Today, crime is viewed as a disease, the criminal as a patient who needs treatment in a hospital setting, rather than in a prison, and society as a factor that is partly responsible for the development of criminals. Antisocial behavior can be controlled through rehabilitation. Sentencing should not only be based on the seriousness of the crime, but also on the personal characteristics of offenders, their backgrounds, and curative possibilities. The nature and duration of commitment should bear some reasonable relation to the purpose for which the offenders are committed. Ideally, sentencing judges should individualize treatment in a scientific manner by utilizing presentencing reports which describe offenders, their potential for reform, and the social impact of their crimes. Such reports are not yet widely used in India. However, in recent years, court opinions and new legislation have reflected a trend towards reform. In 1974, the Supreme Court commented that a court's approach to sentencing should be both socially informed and personalized. A high court went further and pointed out that a major deficiency of the Indian system of criminal trials was that material was not presented before the courts to help them come to a punitive treatment suited to the individual offender and the crime. The Code of Crime Procedure (1973) reflected such concerns in a section which allows parties to bring before the court facts and circumstances of a case which will help personalize the sentence. Unfortunately though, the subordinate judiciary is slow in reforming its ways. The remedy lies in holding periodic meetings of judges, magistrates, and penal administrators on sentencing in order to establish a rational and consistent sentencing policy. Seventeen footnotes and 17 references are included.
Index Term(s): India; Presentence studies; Sentencing recommendations; Sentencing reform
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