By Manav Sony

Introduction: –

Recidivism in Criminal Law means any sort of Criminal Behavior which someone repeats even after being fined, punished or experienced any sort of serious consequences under the system of criminal justice. Many people have basically defined recidivism as re- confinement at any sort of point in the life of a person after he has been confined earlier. Different Organizations of the Government have given different opinions regarding this particular phrase and in a different approach too.[1] The Bureau of Justice Statistics have defined Recidivism as “A bunch of Criminal Acts which actually result in the rearrests, reconviction or return back to the prison with or without any sort of a new sentence during a period of around three years following the release of the prisoners from the jail.” After this definition, the Bureau had given a statistics rate of recidivism at 16% in the year 2007, which was actually really very recent. Recidivism is tended to cause a lot of serious problem for the criminal justice system because of the fact that even though the punishments serve a lot of purposes, one of the primary goals is to actually reduce the likelihood of the fact that a person will be repeating a criminal act in the future. Many renowned organizations have actually dedicated themselves so as to study the problems regarding recidivism and also to enact criminal justice reform so as to reduce the increased rates of recidivism. The actual cause of recidivism is really very complex and it is subjected due to a combination factor of personal, sociological, economic and also lifestyle factors. In the year, 2011 a detailed study was conducted in which it was found that due to harsh prison conditions, which included isolation actually tends to increase recidivism at a really high rate, although none of the effects mentioned here are significant under statistical basis. Many researchers have found out that all the prisoners are snot given civil rights i.e. they are deprived of their civil rights and liberties and are absorbed into various committees which therefore increases ahead in alienation and also isolations. [2]Other causes of recidivism include difficulties which are faced by the released culprits in finding jobs, renting an apartment or getting education which, they try to get. The business owners often refuse to hire an offender who has been convicted of an offence and released from the jail because they think that it will spoil the entire reputation of the company at once. The owners will not even give the responsibility of handling money to these released offenders because of lack of trust in them which is not at all a good think and therefore leads to recidivism. Many corporations of lease as of 2017 have performed routinely regarding performing the criminal background checks and also to disqualify all the ex- convicts who have high crime rates because of reputation problem and a fear that these people might conduct any unlawful activities too[3]. People who have past crime records even find a lot of difficulties to find education opportunities too and they are not even provided with educational loans from the banks. In the United States of America, those who are found guilty of any offence in some other countries or states, they are not at all issued any visa by the Visa Department especially if they are convicted under drugs case i.e. hoarding of Heroin and all other sorts of drugs.

Legal Provisions:

Talking about Legal Provisions, in Criminal Procedure Code, Section 41 talks about the arrest of the offenders who are habituated without arrest of the warrant and section 110 talks about the requirements of the bonds as a term of security for good behavior from the offenders who are habituated. In IPC, section 413 talks about the provisions which are related to persons who deal in stolen property on a habituated basis and section 310 has provisions that relate to thug.[4]


41. When police may arrest without warrant.

(1) Any police officer may without an order from a Magistrate and without a warrant, arrest any person-

(a) who has been concerned in any cognizable offence, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received, or a reasonable suspicion exists, of his having been so concerned; or

(b) who has in his possession without lawful excuse, the burden of proving which excuse shall lie on such person, any implement of house- breaking; or

(c) who has been proclaimed as an offender either under this Code or by order of the State Government; or

(d) in whose possession anything is found which may reasonably be suspected to be stolen property and who may reasonably be suspected of having committed an offence with reference to such thing; or

(e) who obstructs a police officer while in the execution of his duty, or who has escaped, or attempts to escape, from lawful custody; or

(f) who is reasonably suspected of being a deserter from any of the Armed Forces of the Union; or

(g) who has been concerned in, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received, or a reasonable suspicion exists, of his having been concerned in, any act committed at any place out of India which, if committed in India, would have been punishable as an offence, and for which he is, under any law relating to extradition, or otherwise, liable to be apprehended or detained in custody in India; or

(h) who, being a released convict, commits a breach of any rule made under sub- section (5) of section 356; or

(i) for whose arrest any requisition, whether written or oral, has been received from another police officer, provided that the requisition specifies the person to be arrested and the offence or other cause for which the arrest is to be made and it appears therefrom that the person might lawfully be arrested without a warrant by the officer who issued the requisition.

(2) Any officer in charge of a police station may, in like manner, arrest or cause to be arrested any person, belonging to one or more of the categories of persons specified in section 109 or section 110.

Section 110 CrPc

110. Security for good behaviour from habitual offenders. When [ an Executive Magistrate.] 1 receives information that there is within his local jurisdiction a person who-

(a) is by habit a robber, house- breaker, thief, or forger, or,

(b) is by habit a receiver of stolen property knowing the same to have been stolen, or

(c) habitually protects or harbours thieves, or aids in the concealment or disposal of stolen property, or

(d) habitually commits, or attempts to commit, or abets the commission of, the offence of kidnapping, abduction, extortion, cheating or mischief, or any offence punishable under Chapter XII of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ), or under section 489A, section 489B, section 489C or section 489D of that Code, or

(e) habitually commits, or attempts to commit, or abets the commission of, offences, involving a breach of the peace, or

(f) habitually commits, or attempts to commit, or abets the commission of-

(i) any offence under one or more of the following. Acts, namely: –

(a) the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 1940);

(b) 1 the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973] (46 of 1973);

(c) the Employees’ Provident Funds 2 and Family Pension Fund] Act, 1952;

(d) the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (37 of 1954);

(e) the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955);

(f) the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 (22 of 1955);

(g) the Customs Act, 1962 or (52 of 1962);

(ii) any offence punishable under any other law providing for the prevention of hoarding or profiteering or of adulteration of food or drugs or of corruption, or

(g) is so desperate and dangerous as to render his being at large without security hazardous to the community, such Magistrate may, in the manner hereinafter provided, require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond, with sureties, for his good behaviour for such period, not exceeding three years, as the Magistrate thinks fit.

Section 413 IPC

413. Habitually dealing in stolen property.—Whoever habitually receives or deals in property which he knows or has reason to believe to be stolen property, shall be punished with 1[imprison­ment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 310 IPC

310. Thug. —Whoever, at any time after the passing of this Act, shall have been habitually associated with any other or others for the purpose of committing robbery or child-stealing by means of or accompanied with murder, is a thug.

Indian Evidence Act and Recidivism:

Talking about the connection of Indian Evidence Act with Recidivism, there are two important sections which portrays out the relation between them. One of the sections is Section 53 which talks about criminal cases and previous good character which is really very relatable. In the proceedings of criminal nature, the fact which comes over here is that the person who is actually accused is of a good nature is also relevant over here. Also, there is another section involved here i.e. section 54 which talks about bad character.[5] In the proceedings of criminal nature, the fact that the person who is accused has a bad character cannot be relevant unless and until any sort of evidence has been provided to state that the person had a good character in which the case becomes relevant in nature.

Important Case Laws:

There are some important case laws which depicts recidivism along with Indian Evidence Act. They are as follows:

  1. Bai Chaturi v. State: –

In this particular case, the evidence of a normal bad repute was actually a type of an evidence of a normal bad character. It was mentioned in section 54 that in any proceeding of criminal nature, the fact that accused person has a really bad character is not at all relevant unless and until a concrete evidence has been provided so as to state that the accused had a good character and therefore at that instant, the case becomes quite much relevant.

  • Mankura Pasi v. Queen Empress: –

In this particular case, it was relied on a previous judgement of a case i.e., Queen v. Kamal Fukeer regarding the character of the accused who is not being here in a fact of an issue that in any offence of being in a gang of  people associated of habituated offences under section 401 of IPC, along with evidence of the person having bad character or bad reputation was not at all admissible for the purpose of proving the particular person guilty of the offence.

Other Important Provisions Dealing with Recidivism:

Talking about other important acts and provisions which deal with recidivism, they are portrayed as follows: –[6]

  1. The Arms Act, 1999
  2. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
  3. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Habitual Offenders
  4. The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and Habitual Offenders
  5. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
  6. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974


Therefore, from the above article we got to know about a clear- cut picture regarding recidivism. The main conclusion which I am going to draw out is that we need to have a mindset. All the business owners especially need to think of the ones who have been released out of the jail. They should provide them employment with equal honors and reputation like the rest of the employees so that they can make them busy at the work and then they will never commit any other crime in future. One such example is the film New York where the actor was arrested and never got any job after he was released from imprisonment and thus committed yet another crime. All education institutions should provide full education to them so that they can turn out to be good humans and prosper well ahead in their future. If we only don’t take steps then how are we going to control recidivism at a higher rate. Think clearly before doing anything. Even some convicts try to lead a new life but are not at all given opportunities. This is indeed really very wrong and has to be stopped.

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[2] (last viewed 10th August, 14:31)

[3] (last viewed 10th August, 15:02)

[4] file:///C:/Users/HP/Downloads/SSRN-id2392802.pdf. (last viewed 13th August, 18:22)

[5] (last viewed 14th August, 23:27)

[6] (last viewed 15th August, 12:33)

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