Saturday, 21 December 2013

Social defence

Social defence is generally understood as the protection of society against
crime through a systematically organized and coherent action by both the State and
civil society. Though this term has long been in use in the criminological and
penological literature, the modes and modalities of achieving its inherent objective
have been shifting with the advancement in social sciences and behavioural
disciplines. Even today, because of the complexity of issues involved, it has not been
possible to evolve a wholly satisfactory theoretical framework for policy formulation
and programme development in this field. It is true that crime is essentially an
offshoot of the disorganizational process of society itself and, as such, it is difficult of
visualize a system that could completely neutralize an ‘aggression’ which originates
from within. Then, in the absence of any fool-proof theory of crime causation, it is
beyond human capacity to create a society entirely free from crime. Moreover, the
definition of crime itself may vary from country to country and within the same
country from time to time, in keeping with the changes in social structure, cultural
values and normative expectations and no single system can hold good for different
situations. Despite this position, there is a candid awareness that the objective behind
social defence cannot be realized merely by focussing on individuals who are
recognized as offenders; it inevitably requires also reaching out to those who are
vulnerable to crime. Thus, the social defence approach aims not only at perfecting the
system that deals with offenders but also at forestalling conditions that generate
criminality. In this process, it closely interacts with various sectors of socio-economic
development in creating an environment conducive to the prevention of crime and in
mobilizing resources appropriate for the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders in

the totality of their life situations.