Critical Analysis of Reformative Theory


Human civilization was always governed by a supreme power. Over the years, the function and mode of supreme authority has changed. The role of the supreme authority has varied widely, beginning from the empire form of government to the modern parliamentary, republic and other modes of government. The concept of punishment has also changed over the centuries as has the concept of State responsibility. The nature of the punishment was dependent upon the Kings religion and administration.

The concept of punishment was in ancient times a retributive basis, where the criminals were given a barbaric form of punishment. However, through the years, the value of civil rights grew, and in turn opened the way for reformatory and rehabilitative philosophy to replace Retributive philosophy. Under the theory of reformation and rehabilitation, those forms of punishment that would reform him and prevent him from committing such crimes are provided to the accused.

The punishment theory being pursued in India with the objective of reforming the criminals rather than punishing them is not that effective in preventing the occurrence of crimes in India. The fundamental nature of law is not to be static in nature but to be dynamic. Only then will the legislation be applicable in all aspects of society.

Reformative Theory of Punishment

Reformative theory is a response to the theory of dissuasion which has failed to take criminal welfare into consideration. Genuine protest reformation is purely that it isn’t functioning. This is the argument that retribution is given to mitigate criminality and used as a way to an end of that utilitarian one.

Theoretically, the opposite principle of retribution, which is non-utilitarian, was presented punishment on the premises is not a means to an end but an end in itself. Reformation needs too many styles to be merged and their effort to produce commodities has failed, but search is on for the correct mix to bear fruit in principle. Reformative theory expects better prison infrastructures and facilities, adequate cooperation between various disciplines and continuous efforts.

The part of the criminal mold. It calls for massive investments which are weak. It cannot be afforded by the country. Millions of decent civilians have great respect for the law hard to obtain basic amenities presupposes ethical justification for provision of good penitentiary services. In addition, the theory’s rationality is more in favor of incentives for the Crime committee and not deterrence.

Reformation can work on those people that can be reformed, People who are unable to reform as hardcore criminals, highly educated and Crime practitioners. This theory neglects potential offenders and individuals who committed crimes but not under the arms of law. In addition, it overlooks the claims of Crime Suspects.

Landmark Case

In countries such as India, overpopulation and the number of Crimes and criminals are also on the rise and it is hard to say prisoners are going to have a healthy environment. And second, that if prison is a healthy place to live and so is poverty. Citizens thriving in India can commit crime knowingly so may they at least have shelter and food in prison.

In Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration[1] on prevailing the court noted that the conditions of the Indian prisons, the rule of law meets its waterloo when the minions of the State are Become lawbreakers, and so become a court sentinel Justice and constitutional voice run down violators with their writings, and serves human compliance Rights even behind bars of iron and prison guards. 

Objective and Challenges of Reformative Theory

Under this philosophy a convict can be turned into a decent person As law-abiding by treating him skilfully during his detention Phase. He requires a physician-cum-guide and not the jailer. This theory is not giving punishment on the seeing of the past but of the future. This theory says that the offender should not be punished but he should be treated and converted into a law-abiding citizen by giving training. He should be trained to rehabilitate in the society after completion of his sentence. 

Undoubtedly, modern penologists reaffirm their faith in reformative justice but they strongly feel that it should not be stretched too far. The reformative method has proved useful in cases of the juvenile delinquents and the first offenders. Harder criminals, however, do not respond favourably to the reformist ideology. It, therefore, follows that punishment should not be regarded as an end in itself but only a means, the end being the social security and rehabilitation of the offender in the society. The Hon’ble stresses the rehabilitative aspect of penology.

 The Supreme Court held that criminal activity was a pathological aberration, the criminal could ordinarily be forgiven and rehabilitated rather than avenged by the Regime. The subculture which leads to antisocial behavior must not be stopped by Violence also re-culturalisation.

Hence, penology is the subject of concern for the guy, and the aim for society is to save him. The Infusion of harsh and savage punishment is a relic of regressive past times. From a humane point of view, punishment is a method of re-forming an individual who has fallen into criminality and the modern culture has a key stake in offender rehabilitation as a means of special defence.


Various jurists defined punishment in several ways. Consolidated importance to all. For the abuser to suffer discomfort and lack of purse, the meanings are to apply. The change that’ll change the offender’s mind set by penalty and his limited lifestyle will discourage others like criminals to commit no offense. Every theory has its own merits and each hypothesis has been attacked for specific demerits reasons, as if we were talking about the theory of dissuasion, it was criticized on the ground that excessive harshness appears to undermine its own punishment intent and it has also proven unsuccessful in hold the balance or test the offences. Hardened offenders don’t need retribution whereas retributive philosophy suggests that deterrence is not itself a cure for the disobedience on the part of the accused. It just makes the mess harder. Punishment per se evil that can only be justified on the basis that it delivers positive performance. Revenge is ruthless Righteousness. Retribution is merely a secondary purpose served by penalty.

Cases Referred:




  1. What is meant by Reformative Theory?
  2. What is the purpose of reformative theory of punishment?
  3. Why is it a problem in some overpopulated countries like India?
  4. What are the problems associated with reformative theory of punishment?
  5. How is Reformative Theory of Punishment different from Retributive Theory Of Punishment?

[1] “Sunil Batra vs Delhi Administration on 20 December, 1979.”

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