Parole refers to when a judge releases a person from prison before the end of his or her sentence term. This does not mean, however, that the person is free. It means that the person is fulfilling the sentence term outside of confinement.
Upon release, the parole commission gives the person required conditions to follow. If not followed, there is a violation process and potential penalties.
According to the Pennsylvania Parole Board, the parolee has certain rights during the various hearings related to the parole violation. It is always a good idea to request legal counsel, and there is no penalty for doing so. The violation process includes a combination of hearings, depending on the violation:
- Preliminary hearing: After the arrest, the examiner will determine probable cause for the violation charge, and the board will then schedule a violation hearing.
- Violation hearing: The parolee can present evidence and witnesses in front of the panel in order to defend the charge. The board will then determine if a technical violation occurred.
- Revocation hearing: This hearing takes place if the parolee is facing arrest for a new charge while out on parole.
- Revocation hearing: The board determines if the offender should go back to prison due to the new charge.
Potential penalties for violation conviction
If the parole board finds that the person is guilty of violation, FindLaw outlines some of the penalties the court can impose. The court may increase the parole term or impose a fine. A court may also revoke parole, which means the person must return to prison and carry out the rest of the sentence term. A judge may issue an arrest warrant. In the event the person committed a new crime, not only will it be a parole violation, but there will be a new trial for the additional crime.