The term probation and parole are the two alternatives to the incarceration, wherein the conduct of the offender is supervised according to the law. Probation can be understood as a penalty imposed by the court in which the criminal offender is not detained but allowed to remain in the community, on the promise of good behaviour, subject to the supervision of the probation officer.
In contrast, parole, or otherwise called as supervised release, is one in which the inmate is released from the jail either temporarily or permanently, before the completion of sentence, subject to good behaviour.
While studying criminal law, it is important to stay aware of these two concepts and their difference as well, So, here in this article, we’ve simplified the difference between probation and parole.
Content: Probation Vs Parole
|Basis for Comparison||Probation||Parole|
|Meaning||Probation is the suspension of sentence of an offender and allowing them to stay in the community while inculcating good behavior, under the supervision of an officer.||Parole implies the early release of the convict before the expiry of the sentence term, to serve the rest of the protion in the community, while ensuring good behavior and subject to specific conditions.|
|What is it?||Alternative to jail||Conditional release from prison|
|Imposed by||Court||Parole Board|
|Grant||Prior to the incarceration.||After the offender has completed a certain portion of his prison sentence.|
|Allowed to||First time offenders and crimes that does not involve violence.||Criminals that are already under detention.|
|Offender reports to||Probation Officer||Parole Officer|
Definition of Probation
Probation can be defined as the release of the offender, from police custody, subject to the good behaviour of the convicted offender under specific conditions. It is considered as the supervision period, in which the offender has to follow certain rules prescribed by the court, under the supervision of the probation officer.
A person is granted probation when he is found guilty for commission of an offence, in which the accused is not sent to jail rather he is allowed to stay in the community, provided that he adopts ethical conduct and not commit any crime in future, or else he will be sent to jail.
The condition of probation differs regarding the accused and the criminal offence, which encompasses community service, fines, reporting to a probationary officer, restriction on consumption of drugs and alcohol, counselling, jail time and so forth.
Definition of Parole
By the term, parole is meant the grant of release to the convict, only when he has served a part of his punishment in jail.
In this, the prisoner is temporarily or permanently released from the jail, subject to the conditions set forth by the parole board. These conditions ensure the safety of the members of the society include appearing before the parole officer whenever needed, obeying the law, restriction on the consumption of alcohol or drugs, avoiding contact with certain people, restriction on leaving the specified geographical area without the permission of the officer, getting employment and so forth.
While on parole, the convicts are not considered as free from their sentence, rather they have to serve the community and rehabilitate themselves and comply with the rules specified, or else they will be sent back to jail on the grounds of the original sentence.
Key Difference Between Probation and Parole
The points stated below are relevant, so far as the difference between probation and parole is concerned:
- Probation refers to the sentence given to the criminals, in which they remain out of prison, under the supervision of an officer and follows the rules set forth by the court. Parole connotes the before time release of the inmate, on the condition that the inmate will be under the supervision of the authority and detention will be resumed upon the non-compliance of conditions specified.
- Probation is granted by the judge instead of the imprisonment, whereas parole is nothing but a form of conditional release from the prison.
- The decision of probation of an accused or suspect is taken by the court. Unlike, the parole board takes the decision regarding parole of a prisoner.
- The probation is granted to the accused before incarceration, i.e. in spite of directly sending the accused to the jail, they are given a chance to rehabilitate themselves, through this process. On the other extreme, parole is allowed after the offender has completed a specified portion of their sentence term in prison.
- Probation is awarded to those person’s who have no prior criminal record so far and also for the crimes that do not involve violence. As against, parole is allowed to those criminals which are already in jail, and also available to serious offenders, who pursue good conduct, during the term of their sentence.
- A person who is granted probation, reports to the probation officer, however, failure in reporting to the appropriate authority may lead to resentencing to jail, for a particular period. Conversely, the offender under parole has to report to the parole officer, but in case if the accused defaults in reporting without reasonable cause, the offender is sent back to the jail on the grounds of the original sentence.
By and large, probation and parole share many similar aspects but are not one and the same thing as probation is for those offenders who do not have any previous criminal record, whereas parole is for those convicts who are serving detention due to a serious crime committed by them, but pursues good behaviour and follows the rules of jail properly. So, for that, they are awarded parole.