What is the difference between Probation vs Parole?
How do you legally define “parole” and “probation”?
What are the essential elements to know!
In this article, we will break down the notion of Probation vs Parole so you know all there is to know about it!
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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.
- 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
- 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
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