We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

What's Difference Between Parole and Probation?

4-2-2012 National:

A reader has brought to our attention another form of supervision, known as Post-Prison Supervision, something only available in some states. It is still supervision and has rules and conditions which folks must follow.

What makes it slightly different from Parole or Probation is, it is court ordered at sentencing time. Hence it is jointly administered, the court does not administer it but the Department of Corrections handles the physical administration of folks on this type of supervision, and in certain states the Parole Board.

So as to defining the different types of supervision the above is sufficient, and I'm sure different states have different tweaks to it, but for all intensive purposes, its still supervision with someone supervising the person. On to Parole and Probation.

It's understandable if you've used "parole" and "probation" interchangeably -- they both describe the legal status of an offender who has been conditionally released into the world.

But parole and probation are not the same thing. They actually describe two different punishments and processes -- one carried out by the traditional criminal justice system, and the other by the correctional system.

Plus, only parole, by definition, involves jail.

This is because probation is actually an alternative to jail. Though a judge may order a defendant to serve probation in addition to prison time, it's often served alone.

On the other hand, parole is a conditional release from prison. A defendant is ordinarily sentenced to jail "with the possibility of parole." After serving a designated percentage of his sentence, he can ask the parole board to grant him early release. If he meets the requirements -- good behavior, usually -- he is paroled.

Unlike with probation, there is no judge involved.

Despite these differences, parole and probation do share one major similarity. Both probationers and parolees are subject to a list of conditions. They must meet with a supervising officer; attend counseling and rehab; hold a job; and/or not break the law. If they fail to comply with the rules of parole or probation, they can be sent to jail.

Still, in the end, it is a judge that revokes probation, and a parole board that revokes parole. Both parole and probation may ultimately have the same effect, but they do operate in slightly different spheres. ..Source.. by Stephanie Rabiner, Esq.

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