What’s the Difference Between Probation and Parole?
You may have heard of these words but may not know what they mean. What is the difference between probation and parole? Are they the same thing?
Let’s take a look at each, starting with probation.
Probation is when a defendant is found guilty of a crime, the judge orders that your actions are supervised by someone in the criminal justice system. For example, let’s say you commit a robbery. The judge decides that instead of putting you in prison right away, you should be placed on probation. This means the judge is giving you the opportunity to show that you are remorseful for your actions and that you are trying to rehabilitate yourself.
It’s very important that you follow the conditions of your probation. This means participating in any rehab programs, following curfew rules, drug testing, and meeting with your probation officer. You may also be required to pay any court-appointed fees handed down by the court.
If you follow all the rules that the judge hands down, then it’s possible you will not be sent to prison after your probation ends. So although you are still found guilty of the crime, you may avoid going to jail. However, if you don’t do what is required of you, the judge may require you to return to court for final sentencing. This may mean going to jail.
Parole occurs after a defendant is released from prison early. Unlike probation, parole is not court ordered. You will meet with a parole board who will determine whether you are ready to be reintroduced into society. Once you are released, your progress will be monitored.
Just like someone on probation, a person on parole will have to follow a set of guidelines handed down by the parole board. This may mean staying in a halfway house, paying court fees, and meeting with a parole officer. And just like probation, one wrong move and you can head back to jail to serve the remaining of your sentence.
Both probation and parole are used to help the defendant break his/her bad behavior. They are tools used by the criminal justice system to help protect the community. By violating either probation or parole, you will face serious consequences.