Distinguishing Parole & Probation: Key Differences

Parole vs Probation

Probation and parole are two legal terms with a clear distinction between them, but are often confused by people due to their similar objectives. Both parole and probation are concessions granted to individuals convicted of crimes, with the aim of rehabilitating offenders and ensuring their smooth reintegration into society. The ultimate goal is to prevent the repetition of a crime or ensure the prevention of the same.

What is Parole?

Parole is the conditional release of a person convicted of an offense before completing their term of imprisonment, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions and supervision of prescribed authorities. This release is typically granted on the basis that the offenders will serve the remaining portion of their imprisonment serving the community and/or attending rehabilitation programs. Parole is granted by a Parole Board or in some countries, in accordance with the provisions of a particular statute. The person must fulfill certain conditions to remain free and avoid going back to prison, such as payment of fines, finding suitable employment, attending rehabilitation programs, and reporting to a Parole Officer.

What is Probation?

Probation is a sentence given by a court of law, where a convict or offender is not incarcerated, but is released subject to certain conditions as stipulated by the court. The convict remains under the supervision of the court. Probation is often granted in place of imprisonment in certain cases, with the idea that the person on probation is not a threat to society and that imprisonment may not be a suitable punishment. Conditions attached to probation typically include community service, participation in rehabilitation programs, finding employment, and payment of fines or fees. The court assigns a Probation Officer to supervise the person on probation and present a report to the court.

Key Takeaways

  • Parole is a privilege granted to criminals after they have completed a certain portion of their term of imprisonment, while probation is a court sentence imposed on offenders upon being convicted of a crime.
  • Parole is often granted by a Parole Board or according to statutory provisions, whereas probation is granted by a court of law.
  • In the case of parole, a person has already served some time in prison before being released on parole, whereas in the case of probation, the person is granted an alternative to imprisonment.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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