Despite the fact that probation and parole are not similar terms of supervision, the media and public have always missed that fact. However, there are several similarities and differences between two terms. As a matter of fact, probation occurs when an offender happen to be released into the community without serving any prison sentence, however, kept under supervision.
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On the other hand, parole refers to when an individual serving a term of incarceration get released into the community, but still remains under supervision. As such, both cases refer to a managed supervision of the victims. In this paper, the author discusses three similarities and three differences between probation and parole.
Similarities of Probation and Parole
As mentioned earlier, both parole and probation refer to conditions implemented in order to supervise victims of crime out of prison facilities. Crime victims get free to join the society, where they have to complete their terms under supervision (Figgis, 1998).
However, various conditions manage their release, and when the conditions become violated; a term of incarceration may be imposed on the victim. As such, community correction agencies have the duty of ensuring that offenders remain liable to these conditions, as well as, encourage them to change their behavior (Thigpen, Thomas, George, & Michael, 2003).
Therefore, both parole and probation get implemented to allow for compliance and rehabilitation of offenders. In order to allow offenders to change by themselves, probation and parole should be implemented for victims that do not cause immense insecurity to the public (Thigpen et al., 2003). As such, the implementation of probation and parole allows for the gradual change of offenders.
Furthermore, parole and probation became key factors of managing the behavior of offenders within the community setting. Over the decades, especially during the 1980s, crime activities gradually increased. As a result, several victims of crime have constantly been sent to prisons in order to serve their terms away from the society.
This ensured that the public remains safe from danger posed by untamed individuals. In the long-run, prison facilities became overcrowded and prison management became impossible to handle. In connection to that, the cost of managing prisons rose towards unacceptable levels in several states.
According to Pew Center on the States (2009), parole and probation significantly reduces prison overcrowding, as well as, the associated costs of running the facilities (Figgis, 1998). In 2008, for example, explosive growth in the cost of running prisons became unusually high and strategies to control the effect had to be implemented.
The same year, $5,672 million accounted for prison spending while only $788 million accounted for probation and parole expenditure (Pew Center on the States, 2009). Therefore, it becomes evident that both parole and probation plays a key role in reducing the cost of government spending in correctional facilities as compared to incarceration.
As much as supervision of parole and probation matters, there are several similarities that link two processes. In both cases, the offenders have to report to an officer during the whole supervision program. Parolees have to report to parole officers, while individuals on probation reports to probation officers.
Relevant sources show that 60 parolees became assigned to one parole officer, while probation officers had more than 100 probation victims to supervise (Pew Center on the States, 2009). Table 1.0 highlights the basic similarities that exist in the conditions governing offenders on parole and probation respectively.
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Figure 1.0: Key similarities between Probation and Parole.
Differences between Probation and Parole
Besides the fact that probation and parole happen to be implemented by established laws, several variations exist between the practices. In probation, for instance, local judges impose probation on offenders that do not pose extremely high dangers to the public (Figgis, 1998). As such, offenders proven guilty by the court happen to be released into the society under specified conditions for some determined length of time.
In this scenario, guilty offenders receive an alternative charge of incarceration as long as the offender adheres to the imposed conditions. The offender will remain under supervision, which, mostly continues for the whole probation period after passing of the probation sentence. In that case, the court still assumes several responsibilities such as supervising, changing terms, revoking probation and imposing an incarceration.
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In parole, on the other hand, inmates happen to be released into the society after serving part of their terms with an improvement in their behaviors (Bradley, & Michael, 2001). In this scenario, the parole board assumes all the responsibilities of controlling the behavior of the parolees. Where a parolee violates the terms and conditions of the parole, the parole may be revoked and another incarceration imposed on the victim (Bradley, & Michael, 2001).
Hence, probation involves a decision made before the imprisonment of an offender, while parole involves the liberation of inmates from jail in order to serve their remaining part of sentence within the community. In the two scenarios, the decisions reached at depend on the degree of crime committed and behavior of the offender during the initial term respectively.
In connection to that, parole can be considered as a privilege for an individual serving a minimum and a maximum term. This can be realized when the convict has already served the minimum term and an improvement in character observed over the period. Hence, the individual qualifies for a chance to complete the rest of the term out of prison.
This decision arises through a hearing by a parole board, unlike in probation where the judge makes the final decision (Bradley, & Michael, 2001). Furthermore, probation accounts for part of the punishment made by a judge, while parole refers to supervision imposed after a term that already existed. According to relevant sources, parole allows the smooth transition of prison inmates into the society, while probation guides first offenders to limit the chances of committing other crimes.
As established, probation and parole give offenders the chance to prove that one’s character may be improved. On the contrary, failure of meeting the conditions may result in even worse terms and further incarceration. To conclude, it is possible to say that parole and probation serve the same purpose of improving the behavior of an offender before reuniting with the society.
Bradley, K., & Michael, O. (2001). The Role of Parole. Retrieved from the Community Resources for Justice. Web.
Figgis, H. (1998). Probation: An Overview. Retrieved from the NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service. Web.
Pew Center on the States. (2009). One In 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections. Retrieved from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Web.
Thigpen, M., Thomas, B., George, K., & Michael, G. (2003). Motivating Offenders to Change: A guide for Probation and Parole. Retrieved from the National Institute of Corrections. Web.