The terms "parole" and "probation" both have to do with correctional actions after a conviction. While often they are used interchangeably, they apply to different situations. Read on to find out how they are alike and how they differ from each other.
Management of Offenders
Both probation and parole are the means to oversee the behavior of those convicted of crimes. Often, the offender must report to a specific officer in charge on a regular basis. The officer is in charge of making sure the offender obeys all the conditions of the program. In most cases, violations will result in stiff penalties.
Parole and Probation Conditions
Conditions are the rules that offenders must follow to stay on the right side of the law. Both parole and probation have similar conditions and are based on factors like the seriousness of the crime and the criminal record of the offender. Along with staying in contact, common conditions can include:
- Staying away from other criminals.
- Not possessing weapons (or even being near a weapon).
- Not getting arrested again.
- Maintaining a stable living situation and keeping the officer informed about changes in an address at all times.
- Being employed.
Other conditions may be unique to the crime committed such as drug and alcohol testing, mental health counseling, community service, anger management or other classes, wearing an ankle bracelet, and the use of ignition interlock devices.
The Sentencing and Incarceration
The main difference in parole and probation centers around the sentencing. For those sent to prison, parole is the manner of overseeing an offender's actions after they are released. Parole can go for several years before the person is released from its grip. On the other hand, probation is a form of punishment for those who don't get sent to prison. Jail time, however, is possible along with probation after they are released. Probation is usually for a set period as long as the offender abides by all conditions.
Violations of Parole and Probation
As you might imagine, the punishment for a parole violation is far more serious than that of a probation violation. Failing to follow the conditions could get both types of offenders rearrested, but a violation of parole might get the offender sent back to prison. With probation violations, the punishment depends on the seriousness of the act. The goal of probation is to keep the offender out of jail but the goal of parole is to keep former prisoners from re-offending.
For more information, speak to a criminal defense attorney or company that offers law firm services.