The reformative theory is founded on the idea of humanism, which argues that an offender does not cease to be a human being just because he commits a crime. When deciding on a penalty, the court must consider the defendant’s age, character, antecedents, and the conditions in which the offence was committed. Thus as opposed to the deterrent theory of punishment, the reformative theory aims at socialising the offender so that the factors which motivated him to commit the crime are eliminated and he gets a chance of leading a normal life in the society.
This theory is based on ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’. Punishment is effective only if it looks to the future and not the past. Oppenheim has criticised this view stating that the reformative approach deprives punishment of its sting and painful effect and the criminal is looked upon as an object of pity. Hence, punishment would become a work of charity. The Supreme Court in TK Gopal (v) State of Karnataka observed, ‘the law requires that the criminals should be punished, but despite him committing the crime, he should be entitled to all basic rights, human dignity and human sympathy’.
Understanding the role of law holistically, keeping in mind the virtues that come along with the reality of being human is what has been the outcome of constant development of the dynamic field of law. Law cannot be separated from other disciplines and one such discipline is psychology. The most crucial aspect of crime is the mens rea, which refers to a person’s criminal intent. A human being is defined by his or her life experiences and expertise. Unlike a robot of the artificial intelligence he is not programmed to act in a certain way. Various factors such as our life experiences, nurture, environment and company is what makes a person who he is. It must be noted that behaviour and the thought process can be modified. The reformative theory aims to rectify what initially had gone wrong. It recognises the famous saying that ‘to err is to human’, and provides that the basic nature can be modified. A positive environment and teaching along with working to be productive can change a person‘s outlook of the world. The world is becoming increasingly sensitive to the diverse human variations making room for a humanistic version of law, leaving behind a barbaric one.
However the efficacy of this theory in the context of crimes like global terrorism is doubtful. Global terrorism is a human security threat that concerns the international community. It is a heinous crimes since it collectively cost so many people their lives and property. Terrorism has been aided by multinational corporations and non-state players who have a worldwide reach. It has compromises the authority of an individual state. The revolution of information and technology enables transmission of ideas and information at a global level.
This may be checked by taking the help of an international team of specialists who can quickly interpret suspicious activity and prevent it from happening again. Religious fanaticism, which sanctifies Jihad (holy war) and Fedayeen (suicide) assaults, is another element that contributes to terrorism. It takes advantage of the disgruntled youth’s backwardness and economic inequality. This is exactly where the need for the reformative theory comes into play. It can help bring the distracted and misguided youth back on track by the process of reformation and rehabilitation. It will prove to be effective in curbing global terrorism by taming the minds of the youth who are being exploited by the habitual and old defaulters. It has the potential to assist individuals become active members of society while also providing them with a life-changing experience.
However, in my opinion, hardened offenders are too tough to change. They are blinded by their self-serving motivations, leaving no room for change. As a result, the law should take this into account and employ an alternative approach to dissuade them.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge