As you prepare to face criminal charges, you may wonder what the difference is between probation and parole. If a judge orders you to participate in either option, both mean you may not need to serve your full term behind bars.
Whether probation or parole, having the opportunity to avoid incarceration altogether or reduce your time behind bars allows you to improve your life, right your wrongs and create the foundation for a successful future.
Knowing the differences
If you have the option of parole, your release from prison is likely conditional upon your good behavior. Often, you will not begin parole until you have gone through a parole hearing where court officials assess your circumstances and decide whether or not you present a threat to the public. Stipulations such as community service may accompany the decision to grant you parole. Failure to comply with any requirements can land you back in prison.
Authorities could place you on probation right away or following brief incarceration. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, your behavior in the community is regularly supervised while you remain on probation. If you have requirements such as participating in a recovery program or paying legal fines, you will need to check-in with a probation officer to verify completion. If you neglect your duties, you could end up incarcerated.
Both probation and parole have active and inactive statuses. Depending on your individual circumstances, the severity of your criminal behavior and your willingness to comply with legal requirements, court officials will determine your status. Showing good behavior or violating the conditions you agreed to can both impact your status and cause it to change.
Leveraging the opportunity
Being on probation or released on parole allows you the promising opportunity to move on. Seeing that you comply with the conditions of your release can prevent the disappointment of ending up incarcerated again and facing more serious legal consequences. You can start to look for work, make plans for your educational aspirations and strengthen the relationships you care about.