Home Blog Probation vs Parole (What Is It And How Are They Different: Overview)

Probation vs Parole (What Is It And How Are They Different: Overview)

What is the difference between Probation vs Parole?

How do you legally define “parole” and “probation”?

What are the essential elements to know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our criminal law and legal concept knowledge!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Difference Between Probation And Parole

Many find the difference between parole vs. probation to be quite confusing.

In criminal law, “probation” refers to a set of conditions imposed by the court (or a judge) on a person at the time of his or her sentencing.

Typically, during the “probationary period”, the individual is subject to certain restrictions.

For example, a judge may impose a one-year probation on a person not to drive a motor vehicle or to carry weapons.

A probation does not necessarily come with jail time or prison sentence.

On the other hand, “parole” is granted by a parole board after a person has served time in jail.

In essence, the parole board will evaluate a prisoner’s behavior over time, the extent to which the convicted offender has rehabilitated, and other factors to determine if they will grant parole or not.

A person’s parole request may be rejected, accepted, or even accepted with restrictions.

What Is Probation

The term probation refers to restrictions imposed on a person instead of incarceration or jail time.

It is possible in some jurisdictions to have a “split sentence” which is a short period of incarceration followed immediately by a probationary period.

A probation can be ordered with active supervision or inactive supervision.

An active supervision is when the person subject to the probation must regularly report to the probation authority in person, by mail, or by telephone.

Inactive supervision is when the person subject to the probation does not have to regularly report to the probation authority.

There are many types of probation orders, such as:

  • Doing community service
  • Getting counselling for drugs or alcohol
  • Paying fines
  • Reporting to a probation officer
  • Restrictions to carry firearms, alcohol, or tobacco 
  • Restrictions on areas they cannot go 

What Is Parole

The term parole refers to criminal offenders that are conditionally released from prison to serve the remaining portion of their sentence in community.

A prisoner may be released under parole either when the parole board makes a decision to this effect (discretionary parole) or when it is required by law (mandatory parole).

Just like individuals on probation, parolee’s can have an active supervision status or an inactive one.

Parole with active supervision means that the released offender must regularly report to the parole authority in person, by mail, or by telephone.

Parole with inactive supervision means that the paroled offender has minimal reporting obligations to perform with the parole authority.

Parole vs Probation Characteristics 

Here is a quick overview of the different characteristics of parole vs. probation.

Parole is:

  • It’s possible after the offender has served part of his or her jail time
  • Is typically granted on the offender’s good behavior, demonstrated ability to change, and desire to be productive in society 
  • The offender may be released with mandatory supervision 
  • The offender may also be able to serve the remaining portion of his or her sentence in community 
  • The offender will typically need to respect probations such as obey the law, avoid alcohol, do not drive etc
  • The parole board is the one who typically issues parole decisions 

Probation is:

  • Special type of sanction ordered by the court when a person is found guilty of a crime
  • In some cases, the individual is required to serve some time in jail and then go on probation (this is called a split-sentence)
  • Probation orders allow a person to stay in community under supervision 
  • A judge may order different types of restrictions or prohibitions on a person such as doing community service or getting counselling 

Parole vs Probation Takeaways 

So, what is the difference between Probation and Parole?

It’s important to speak to a qualified attorney in case you are not sure what is the difference between parole and probation.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Difference Between Parole and Probation

  • Probation is part of an offender’s sentence issued by the judge or the court and is handed down in lieu of jail time
  • Parole is when an offender is released early from prison allowing the convicted offender to complete the remaining part of his or her sentence in community 
  • Probation is a type of community supervision whereas parole is a type of privilege granted to convicted felons after they have completed some of their prison sentence 
  • Probation is granted by a judge or jury whereas prole is issued by a parole board 
  • Probation sentences have little to no jail time whereas parole is granted after a person has been in prison for an extended period of time 
Burden of proof
Civil rights 
Constitutional rights 
Criminal sentencing 
Felony expungement 
Pardon 
Parole officer 
Parole 
Probation officer 
Probation violation 
Probation
Author
Conditional release 
Criminal lawyer 
Criminal procedure 
Expungement of criminal records 
Incarceration 
Jail vs prison 
Record sealing 
Split sentence 
White collar crime
Author

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!

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