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Probation is the correctional administration of an offender under the age of 21 years in which, the court, when convinced, does not send the offender to prison.


Probation is a conditional release of an offender under supervision. If the supervision is done before the custodial sentence, it is called 'probation'. If the supervision is done after the custodial sentence, it is called Parole.

The term 'Probation' is derived from a Latin term Probare to mean 'to test' or 'to prove'. It gives the offender 'a chance to prove his worth'.

S Cunnings: Probation is a matter of discipline and treatment. If probationer are picked carefully and supervision work is done with care and caution, it will work miracles in the field of rehabilitation.

A Probation Officer investigates and prepares a pre-sentence report to be filed before the trial court prior to the final disposal of the case.

Probation is not offered to all offenders. It is provided only to those specially selected offenders.

A conditional suspension of sentence is provided. The probation is linked to Suspended Sentence with the major difference being a mandatory supervision in the former.

Decision of release on probation is a post-conviction process and largely depends on the probability of offender to reform himself.


There are few major benefits of probation:

  • Not all types of offenses are serious enough to require incarceration which is costly.
  • Several offenses can be controlled by legislative Acts
  • Probationers can obtain or maintain employment and pay taxes
  • It eases pressure on jails

Probation in various countries

Probation in England

The period ranges from one to three years.

The concept stared with the enactment of Probation of Offenders Act, 1907.

Probation in United States

A form of Probation started in 1841 when a shoe maker John Augustus stood as a bail for a person charged with drunkenness. Judge having seen a reform in defendant ordered his release with a nominal fine.

The period is up to five years.

Probation in other countries

Related Cases

  • Probation - Offence u/ss 498-A, 323 IPC - There is no minimum sentence prescribed u/ss 498-A, 323 IPC, thus provisions of P.O. Act applies to the same. (2017(2) Apex Court Judgments 034 (S.C.)

Related Acts