Report No. 135
5.6. Inter-relationship of section 6 with other sections of the Probation Act.-
It may be noted that section 6 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 19581 is not, in itself, an independent source of power to release an offender on probation or admonition. Rather, it draws the attention of the court to the need for exercising the power, if a person under 21 years of age is found guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment (but not with imprisonment for life), by placing a restriction on the court's power to sentence such person to imprisonment and by requiring the court to record its reasons for passing a sentence of imprisonment on the offender, if the court passes such a sentence.
1. Para. 5.4, supra.
5.7. As mentioned above, the power to release an offender on admonition (section 3) and the power to release on probation (section 4) are both wide enough to cover male as well as female offenders. But, in these provisions there is no emphasis as such, on the need to pay special attention to the desirability of probation where the offender is a female. Having regard to the problems that have arisen in the past in regard to females in custody, it would be worthwhile to introduce some such emphasis.
One method of achieving this emphasis would be to require the court to take account of the fact that the offender is a woman in cases to which the Probation Act applies. Having regard to the fact that the object of the Probation Act is to encourage reformation in substitution for mere deterrence and to create facilities for out-of-jail treatment rather than incarceration inside, the jail, it would be appropriate if that objective is carried out more emphatically in regard to women.