. H. Sutherland states that probation is a “status of convicted offender during a period of suspension of sentence in which he is given liberty conditioned on his good behaviour and in which the State by supervision, attempts to assist to maintain good behaviour.
The United Nations Department of Social Affairs states that probation is a process of treatment prescribed by the Court for persons convicted of offenders against the law during which the individual or probationer lives in a community and regulates his own life of conditions imposed by the Court or other constituted authority and is subject to supervision of a probation officer.
Probation has the following essential elements:
(1) It relates to the persons convicted of offences against the law.
(2) It is liberal reward for good behaviour of first offenders who have been convicted of a crime.
(3) It is a conditional suspension of sentence to allow him to live in society with good behaviour.
(4) It allows the convicted person, before the implementation of sentence, to live normal life with good behaviour under the personal supervision of a probation officer.
The system of probation involves restrictions on the liberty of probationer and refrains him from disapproved behaviour or conversely, compels him to perform certain required acts which may be irksome or even painful to him. Probation is an attempt to mitigate the rigours of the offender rather than making him suffer in the prison institution.
Probation is a conditional release of an offender under supervision. It is a selective measure, depending on the discretion of the Court. The actual selection for release on probation depends on the careful investigation of personal traits and social circumstances of the offender. The investigation is done by a Probation Officer who prepares a pre-sentence report to be filed before the trial Court prior to the final judicial disposal of the case.