In the meantime, the reformative trend which was gaining momentum in the field of penology ail around the world also gave filip to the cause of correctional method of treatment of offenders in India. It was realised that confining convicts in closed prison cells hardly serves any useful purpose.
The overall effect of these changes brought about significant reforms in prison administration in India during the latter half of the twentieth century. But there has always been a lack of planned penal programme in this country. To take a concrete example, the system of probation is in practice in India for the past more than fifty years, but it has always progressed in a haphazard manner without clear cut idea as to its ultimate goal.
It is well known that probation implies supervision and control of probation officer over the probationers but today this task is entrusted to the Social Welfare Boards. This obviously throws c. challenge to the legality of probation system insofar as entrusting the judicial functions to a non-judicial body like Welfare Board is concerned. However, it is not so with parole which is fully in conformity with the existing Indian penal laws.
It must be accepted that post-Independence era in India brought in its wake a growing realisation of the need of change in attitude towards the treatment of offenders. With advanced knowledge of human behaviour, the role of psycho-social environment in the correctional field cannot be under-estimated. The institutions such as parole and open air camps occupy a significant place in the correctional treatment of offenders inasmuch as they are directed towards narrowing down the gap between the prison life and the free life of the outside world.