According to Siegel and Worrall (2015), probation is a sentence adjudicated by court that allows an offender to remain in the community under strict supervision of probation officer instead of going to jail. On the other hand, parole is an early release from jail allowing the offender to get back to the community under the supervision of parole officer instead of serving a full term. A person who is given probation may avoid going to prison if the behavior is satisfactory for the entire period of probation. However, parole can only be given to the one who is already serving the term in the penitentiary. Parole only makes the jail term more brief compared to the judgment given by the courts. Another fundamental difference is that probation is given by a judge while parole can only be given by the parole board. A judge may decide to put the offenders under probation for a given period to offer them an opportunity to correct the behavior (Vito, Kunselman, & Tewksbury, 2014). On the other hand, a parole is given by the parole board when it is satisfied that a given offender had shown the capacity to change his behavior when released back to the community.
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Roles of Probation and Parole Officers in Correction
The role of probation and parole officers in correction is to ensure that the offenders follow the laws and regulations set up by the judge and parole board. These officers supervise the offenders to ensure that they follow curfew if necessary, participate in rehabilitation programs, and engage in any other activities as directed by the relevant bodies. They are responsible for the actions of the offenders and are expected to report to the authorities on a regular basis. They can even make suggestions for the offenders to be incarcerated at any moment they notice that they are violating the set regulations (Roberts & Hough, 2010).
The probation and parole officers have far-reaching authority in terms of ensuring that the offenders follow the given instructions. For instance, they have the authority under certain conditions to disregard civil liberties such as those protected by the 1st and 4th Amendments (Bohm & Haley, 2012). They can conduct a warrantless search. This is necessary to enable them to audit the behavior of the offenders. 1st and 4th amendment rights cannot be effectively applied to people who are in prison. Offenders under probation or parole are assumed to be in prison although they stay out of jail. That’s why they aren’t entitled to some rights that other members of the community may enjoy (Abadinsky, 2015).
Differences between State and Federal Probation and Parole Officers
The main difference between state and federal probation and parole officers is that the federal officers are in charge of the offenders sentenced in federal courts while state officers are responsible for those who are judged in state-level courts. According to Morash (2010), federal probation and parole officers have more resources and are very strict when monitoring the offenders as compared to their state counterparts. The state parole officers work under the state prisons while federal parole officers work under the federal prisons. The jurisdiction of the state officers is restricted to a given state, while federal officers can work in any part of the country.
Abadinsky, H. (2015). Probation and parole: Theory and practice. Boston: Pearson Education.
Bohm, M., & Haley, K. (2012). Introduction to criminal justice. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Morash, M. (2010). Women on probation and parole: A feminist critique of community programs & services. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
Roberts, V., & Hough, M. (2010). Understanding public attitudes to criminal justice. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press.
Siegel, L. & Worrall, J. (2015). Introduction to Criminal Justice. New York: Words of Wisdom LLC.
Vito, F., Kunselman, C., & Tewksbury, R. (2014). Introduction to criminal justice research methods: An applied approach. New York: Wiley & Sons.