Oftentimes, you will hear the terms parole and probation used interchangeably. And while they have some similarities, it is important to understand the differences between the two. In this post, we will define parole and probation and show you the differences between the two so you can have a better understanding of them. 

Understanding Parole

Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner before the end of their sentence. This is often achieved through good behavior. Think of parole as a privilege that allows prisoners to finish out their sentence from home. 

The decision to release a prisoner on parole is left up to a panel of experts deemed a parole board. After the prisoner becomes eligible, which is contingent on the initial sentencing, they will have regular parole meetings to determine if they are fit to reenter society on this basis. Once an offender is released on parole, they are subject to certain conditions that must be met in order to remain free. Some of these conditions include maintaining employment, staying sober, and avoiding criminal activity. 

Many people are eligible for parole after around ¼ of their prison time is served. This is subject to the initial sentencing however, as some offenders can receive sentences that do not offer parole. 

Understanding Probation

Probation is a sanction given to an offender by the court after they are found guilty of a crime. This allows them to go free but must maintain good standing with their probation officer. Offenders on probation may never have to go to jail or prison if they remain well-behaved. Probation can look different for different scenarios. Usually, it requires offenders to perform tasks such as community service, counseling, fines, reporting to a probation officer, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol. 

If an offender fails to comply with the rules of his probation, this can lead to them accruing serious prison or jail time. 

Why the Confusion Between Parole and Probation?

Other than the fact that both terms start with the letter “p,” parole and probation both require offenders to remain in good standing with their respective officers, whether that be a probation officer or a parole officer. 

One of the most important distinctions between the two is where the decision is made. For parole, the decision is made by the parole board for an offender who is already in prison. For probation, the decision is made in the court by a judge on an offender who is not in prison for the accused crime.

The other main thing to consider is that parole takes place much later in the offender’s conviction timeline whereas probation usually takes place at the onset. 

Get Out of Jail with Delta Bail

Good behavior is important for both parole and probation, but mistakes still happen and the law gets broken. If you or a loved one has been arrested and need to post bail, look no further than Delta Bail Bonds. Our experienced bondsmen are available 24/7 to answer the call and get your loved one out of jail fast. Give us a call or fill out our online form so we can get your loved one back home. 

Parole and Probation: Understanding the Difference

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