The Probation System in Bangladesh

In this article we have discussed regarding the Probation System in Bangladesh. The Probation of Offenders Ordinance, 1960 deals with the provisions of Probation system in Bangladesh. The said ordinance is expedient to provide for the release on probation of offenders in certain cases and for matters incidental. Now a days the Probation System is becoming more popular. 

What is Probation ? 

Probation is variably defined under different laws as an “order for conditional discharge” or “an order requiring [the offender] to be under the supervision of Probation Officer”.

The 1960 Ordinance states that the purpose of probation is to “prevent a repetition of the same offence or a commission of other offences by the offender and for rehabilitating him as an honest, industrious and law abiding citizen”.

Courts empowered under the Ordinance: 

Under Section 3 the following courts shall be the courts empowered to exercise powers under this Ordinance, namely:

a) The High Court Division

(b) A Court of Sessions;

(c) a District Magistrate;

(d) a Magistrate of the 1st Class; and

(e) any other magistrate especially empowered in this behalf.

Power of court to make a probation order in certain cases: 

Under Section 05 Where a Court by Which,  

(a) any male person is convicted of an offence not being an offence under Chapter VI or Chapter VII of the Penal Code, or under sections 216A, 328, 382, 386, 387, 388, 389, 392, 393, 397, 398, 399, 401, 402, 455, or 458 of that Code, or an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life or

(b) any female person is convicted of any offence other than an offence punishable with death,

is of opinion that, having regard to the circumstances including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender, it is expedient to do so, the court may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, instead of sentencing the person at once, make a probation order, that is to say, an order requiring him or her to be under the supervision of a probation officer for such period, not being less than one year or more than three years, as may be specified in the order

Provided that the court shall not pass a probation order unless the offender enters into a bond, with or without sureties, to commit no offence and to keep the peace and be of good behaviour during the period of the bond and to appear and receive sentence if called upon to do so during that period

Provided further that the court shall not pass a probation order under this section unless it is satisfied that the offender or one of his sureties, if any, has a fixed place of abode or a regular occupation within the local limits of its jurisdiction and is likely to continue in such place of abode or such occupation, during the period of the bond.

While making a probation order, the court may also direct that the bond shall contain such conditions as in the opinion of the court may be necessary for securing supervision of the offender by the probation officer and also such additional conditions with respect to residence, environment, abstention from intoxicants and any other matter which the court may, having regard to the particular circumstances of the case, consider necessary for preventing a repetition of the same offence or a commission of other offences by the offender and for rehabilitating him as an honest, industrious and law-abiding citizen.

When an offender is sentenced for the offence in respect of which a probation order was made, that probation order shall cease to have effect.

Failure to observe conditions of the bond: 

If the court by which an offender is bound by a bond under section 5 has reason to believe that the offender has failed to observe any of the conditions of his bond, it may issue a warrant for his arrest or may, if it thinks fit, issue summons to the offender and his sureties, if any, requiring them to appear before it at such time as may be specified in the summons.

Appoint of Probation Officers: 

(1) A probation officer referred to in a probation order may be any person appointed to be probation officer by the Officer-in-charge.

(2) A probation officer shall be a person who shall possess such qualifications as may be prescribed by rules made in this behalf under this Ordinance.

(3) A probation officer, in the exercise of his duties under any probation order, shall be subject to the control of the Officer- in-charge.

Duties of a probation officer: 

A probation officer shall, subject to the rules made under this Ordinance,-
(a) visit or receive visits from the offender at such reasonable intervals as may be specified in the probation order or, subject thereto, as the Officer-in-charge may think fit;
(b) see that the offender observes the conditions of the bond executed ;
(c) report to the Officer-in-charge as to the behaviour of the offender;
(d) Advise, assist and befriend the offender, and when necessary endeavour to find him suitable employment; and
(e) perform any other duty which may be prescribed by the rules made under this Ordinance.

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