Understanding Parole and How It Works

Understanding Parole and How It Works

Parole is the temporary or permanent release of an offender or prisoner before the completion of a prison sentence due to good behavior and a promise to continue doing so. The commitment that a prisoner gives includes not escaping and avoid getting involved with individuals of undesired behavior after being released from prison.

Parole is referred to as “discretionary” parole at times, wherein an inmate gets an early release from prison and serves the remaining part of the sentence under parole supervision. The mandatory parole occurs after completion of a prison sentence and is quite similar to the “federal supervised release” system.

Parole is not a right but a form of privilege for prisoners who seems capable of reintegrating and contributing to society. The law of parole varies by state. The authorities generally deny dangerous prisoners parole. The inmate placed under the parole system is assigned with a specific parole officer, and he or she is obliged to meet up with that officer periodically.

Parole conditions

Depending on the case of the inmate, some conditions are imposed by the parole officers and strictly followed. These parole conditions are rules and regulations or restrictions imposed on the parolees.

The general conditions of parole may include: report regularly to the supervising officer, staying within an area specified and not leaving the area unless permitted, must not possess weapons, any changes in employment status must be reported promptly to the supervising officer, allow law enforcement searches on your property, and obey the law at all times.

In federal cases, the courts may impose special supervised release conditions, which may be aimed at future crime deterrence, societal protection (from the offender), career and educational training, medical treatment, or any other correctional-related treatment to benefit the offender. The above conditions must not restrict the liberty of the prisoner more than necessary.

Violation of the above conditions, such as failure to get the permission of the parole officer when leaving the state or county, is deemed as a wrongful act and may equate to committing a new crime and could potentially send the parolee back to prison.

The parole system is an excellent opportunity for the prisoner’s positive transition into society. Those restrictions imposed on inmates are meant to encourage good behavior after their incarceration. Parole ‘softens their heart,’ thereby giving them the motivation they need to avoid trouble even before getting out of custody.

Another advantage of parole is reduced prison overcrowding, and it grants some offenders (who are deemed unlikely to harm other people) the opportunity to serve society.  A parole system also helps the government slash the overwhelmingly high costs of maintaining huge prison populations while ensuring the safety of smaller communities.