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Parole and Probation

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Parole and Probation

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How Does Parole and Probation Work?

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Probation occurs when someone convicted of criminal charges is allowed to avoid spending time in prison; parole occurs when someone convicted of criminal charges is able to serve only a portion of their sentence before beginning to reincorporate into society. The intention of parole and probation privileges is to rehabilitate offenders while decreasing the possibility of new or repeat offenses. However, both parole and probation carry significant restrictions a convicted criminal will have to abide by, or otherwise find themselves back in prison for a parole or probation violation.

It’s important to discuss your situation with an experienced defense attorney to evaluate your eligibility for probation or parole. If a crime is less severe or, probation might be a possibility. Similarly, if someone has behaved well and showed improvement while serving a prison sentence, depending on their crimes they could be eligible for parole. It takes an experienced attorney to accurately evaluate a convicted person’s chances for being granted probation or parole. To learn more, contact a defense attorney to discuss your own or a loved one’s situation in this regard.

Parole and Probation Statistics

To understand the effectiveness and utilization of parole and probation as a corrective justice action, it might help to look at some of the data which exists on this subject. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, national data on adult offenders under community supervision on probation or parole in 2016 appears as follows:

  • Approximately 4,537,100 adults were under probation or parole by the end of the year in the United States. This is equivalent to about 1 in 55 adults.
  • From January to December of 2016, the adult probation population declined by 1.4%, or 52,500 people.
  • Probation exits increased from 2015 to 2016.
  • Parole exits decreased from 2015 to 2016.

What’s the Difference?

While often discussed together, parole and probation are not the same thing and often apply under different circumstances. Additionally, the restrictions a convicted person must abide by differ between the two as well. However, both parolees and probationers regularly meet with a probation or parole officer to evaluate their situation and ensure that they are meeting the standards asked of them. A failure to comply with the rules set forth by the justice system regarding a person’s probation or parole could result in imprisonment or re-imprisonment for violators.

Let’s go over the definitions of parole and probation to compare and contrast the differences:

  • Parole: Parole may be granted to inmates who have served a portion of their prison sentence already. Parole is a privilege rather than an alternative sentence and can grant parolees the opportunity to return to society with certain restrictions, such as the requirement to live or stay in a certain location, to submit to drug or alcohol tests, and to provide proof of residence and employment to their parole officer who they must meet with on a regular basis.
  • Probation: Probation is widely considered as a corrective alternative to serving jail time in the event that someone is decided to be guilty of a crime, but the crime does not imply that the probationer is a threat to themselves or others. The severity of a crime may also play into the eligibility of a convicted person to qualify for probation as an alternative sentence to imprisonment. Probationers will be required to meet with a probation officer regularly and are often required to participate in rehabilitation programs though they are largely allowed to live regularly otherwise.

To learn more about how probation and parole work, seek legal counsel. If you or a loved one have been convicted of a crime and/or want to discuss the possibility of probation or parole, discuss the situation with a defense attorney to learn what opportunities may be available.

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