Parole & Probation

Posted: August 29th, 2013





Parole and Probation

            Parole and probation are common terms in law each with a different meaning and purpose, but share some similarities. Parole is the where criminals are supervised in prisons to determine whether there is a likelihood they will go back to criminal activities or they have transformed. The parole is the period under which the criminals are supposed to be under supervision, and if they commit a crime, again during this period they are sent back to prison. On the other hand, probation is the period during which arrested suspects are allowed freedom to check whether they are likely to commit the same crime, during which supervision is carried out, and investigations are conducted. Both terms aim at allowing a time period to offenders, to test whether they are likely to go back to the same offences (Rolando, Carmen and Chad, Trulson 303).


The first difference arises in the people who the processes are provided for. In parole, the process is concerned with people who are already convicted and serving their jail terms. Parole offers an early release to a criminal who has served a part of his or her sentence, and has proven to uphold to good behavior in prison. The criminal is released under conditions that he or she will not engage in crime again, and is put under supervision by an officer. Parole is meant to shorten the sentence imposed on a criminal upon good behavior in prison. Parole is awarded by a parole board with the permission of the court. The parole is also seen as a way of reducing congestion in the prisons especially for offenders who are not violent (, 2011).

On the other hand, probation is issued by a judge. It is usually a form of a sentence, where the judge decides to release an offender on conditions. The offender is put under supervision for some time (, 2011). If the offender commits another crime, he or she is arrested and jailed. It is seen as a form of sentence for lighter offences where the judge feels the offender is not likely go back to crime. More conditions as restrictions from some activities could be imposed, which if violated, the person could go to jail. It is also seen as a part of sentence for some people where they could serve time in jail for a different reason, and receive probation for another crime.


The two processes are subsets of a sentence or a form of correction. Both aim at correction of offenders, with the aim of rehabilitating offenders in a much humane way that allows them to interact with the community as they serve their sentences. In both probation and parole, the offenders are given conditions, which if breached; they stand to be taken back to trial or prison. In both cases, the offenders are scheduled for meetings with probation and parole officers to check their record over the probation and parole period. Moreover, other conditions such as leaving town without a notification are seen as a violation of the parole, which could place the offender back in the arms of the law. The aim of these processes is to reduce overcrowding in prisons, and make time that could have been spent in incarceration productive (Hess Karen, Orthmann and Cho 570).

It is evident that there are differences in the way both processes are utilized, but it is also evident that they both serve the same purposes. They are both part of a correction system aimed at giving offenders a chance to shorten their life in prison through parole, and giving them a chance to serve part of their imprisonment through probation. Both processes have evolved throughout history, aimed at improving judicial systems.



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