Tue, 27 Feb 2018

Similarities Between Probation And Parole

Parole is a temporary (for a special purpose) or permanent release from a prison before the completion of the sentence term in exchange for good behavior.

When a person is on parole, it means they are still under sentence, but they are serving their time outside of imprisonment. They can be sent back to prison if they commit any kind of violation of the terms of their parole.

Some people are sometimes using the terms probation and parole interchangeably. There are certain similarities between these two processes, which is why they may be confusing. However, they are not the same. Parole is continuing your sentence outside of jail, whereas probation is a substitute to serving time in jail.

Parole Violation

The court may specify a minimum prison time before you can be eligible for parole, but eligibility usually begins after completing one-third of your sentence. When the Parole Commissions grants you parole, there are conditions of release that you need to fulfil so can stay out of jail.

Usually, conditions of release include general provisions like obey all the laws, and provisions specific to the crime you were sentenced for. Furthermore, there are more technical conditions, such as informing the court right away when you change jobs or move.

You commit a parole violation when you disobey any of the conditions of release. Depending on the Parole Commission, you may end up going back to prison because of the violation.

Consequences for a Parole Violation

There is a range of penalties that the court can impose once you are found guilty of violating your parole. They will consider the nature of the violation as well as your previous violations, if any. The consequences may include any of the following:

  • Arrest Warrant - a warrant may be issued to arrest the parolee when they are suspected to have committed a violation of a condition of release.

  • Jail Time - the court may require you to spend a couple of days in jail. After that, you may resume your probation.

  • Revocation - once the parolee is found guilty, parole is usually revoked immediately, and they must serve the rest of the original prison sentence.

  • Increased Term of Parole - the court cannot extend the term of your parole further than the term of the original sentence, even after your violation of the terms of your parole. However, the court may still add time (provided it is not beyond the original sentence) and conditions to your original parole. You may also be required to attend counselling.

  • Fines - if permitted by state law, the court will impose a fine for your parole violation.

  • Criminal Charges - aside from a conviction for a parole violation, you can also receive another criminal conviction for the said offense.

Expectations When Charged with a Parole Violation

A parolee is presumed innocent of any violations or new crimes until found guilty. Parolees have the right to a hearing about their alleged violation. They are also entitled to a speedy trial regarding additional criminal charges.

There should be "good cause" to believe that the parolee committed a violation of the terms of their parole before the parole gets to be suspended or revoked. There is no jury, and often, no judge as well, during a parole revocation hearing. The people who actually make recommendations about parole are usually not even lawyers, but hearing or parole officers.

For parole revocation proceedings, there are minimal due process requirements established by the US Supreme Court, in which all states must follow. The government carries quite a low burden of proof and if the parolee is going to contest the hearing, their witnesses can testify for them.

Procedural Requirements of a Parole Violation Hearing

When you are alleged to have violated your parole, the decision to revoke your parole must first start with a factual question to find out if a probable cause is established that you really committed a violation of the conditions of your parole. In general, it will begin with a preliminary hearing. Here are the things that you can expect:

  • The hearing should take place within a reasonable schedule near the place where the alleged parole violation has been committed. A Board hearing officer, who does not have a direct involvement in the case, will preside over this hearing.

  • If out of custody, you will receive a written notice regarding the preliminary hearing. You will also have reasonable time in order for you to prepare for the case.

  • It is possible that documentary evidence and witnesses will be presented, and witnesses may undergo cross examination, except if the hearing officer ascertains that the witness can be put in danger if their identity is revealed. You can provide statements and also answer questions, but you are actually not required to do this.

  • When the hearing is over, the hearing officer will write a report regarding their findings and submit it to the Parole Board.

  • After that, the Board will either ratify or overrule the findings of the hearing officer, including an evaluation to grant you a release, and will decide if a final hearing is needed.

If they determine probable cause, there will be a final hearing to find out if you really committed a violation of your parole condition and if your parole needs to be revoked. The hearing procedure is similar to the preliminary hearing, but the Parole Board will decide by majority vote whether to revoke or continue parole.

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