The 10 Most Important Salient Features of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 are listed below:
(1) The Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 is intended to reform the amateur offenders by rehabilitate in society and to prevent the conversion of youthful offenders into obdurate criminals under environmental influence by keeping them in jails along with hardened criminals.
(2) It aims to release first offenders, after due admonition or warning with advice who are alleged to have committed an offence punishable under Sections 379, 380, 381, 404 or Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code and also in case of any offence punishable with imprisonment for not more than two years, or with fine, or with both.
(3) This Act empowers the Court to release certain offenders on probation of good conduct if the offence alleged to have been committed must not be punishable with death or life imprisonment. However, he should be kept under supervision.
(4) The Act insists that the Court may order for payment by the offender such compensation and a cost of the proceedings as it thinks reasonable for loss or injury caused to the victim.
(5) The Act provides special protection to persons under twenty-one years of age not to sentence him to imprisonment. However, this provision is not available to a person found guilty of an offence punishable with life imprisonment.
(6) The Act provides the freedom to Court to vary the conditions of bond when an offender is released on probation of good conduct and to extend the period of probation not to exceed three years from the date of original order.
(7) The Act empowers the Court to issue a warrant of arrest or summons to him and his sureties requiring them to attend the Court on the date and time specified in the summons if an offender released on probation of good conduct fails to observe the conditions of bond.
(8) The Act empowers the Court to try and sentence the offender to imprisonment under the provisions of this Act. Such order may also be made by the High Court or any other Court when the case comes before it on appeal or in revision.
(9) The Act provides an important role to the probation officers to help the Court and to supervise the probationers put under him and to advise and assist them to get suitable employment.
(10) The Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. This Act comes into force in a State on such date as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. It also provides liberty to State Governments to bring the Act into force on different dates in different parts of that State.