Parole and probation are both alternatives to incarceration where the accused must follow strict rules and guidelines. He or she would also be expected to submit to warrantless searches at any time. Both parole and probation are certainly preferred over living in a jail cell, but what exactly is the difference between the two?
Probation refers to a period of time before the accused is sent to prison. When a defendant receives probation, the judge gives them an opportunity to show that they want to rehabilitate themselves rather than pronouncing the sentence and sending them straight to prison. Either the defendant is given probation without a pre-determined sentence, or the judge will find the defendant guilty and temporarily suspend the sentence while he/she is on probation. If a defendant does everything the judge instructs them to do, then they will not be sent to prison to finish their sentence. However, if the defendant violates their probation conditions, they will be given a new jail sentence based on the probation violation in addition to the initial crime. (If you have recently been arrested, it’s important to seek Lackawanna County bail bonds before wondering the possibility of probation.)
Meanwhile, parole is an early release from prison for reasons such as good behavior. The defendant instead serves the rest of their sentence in the community, but is required to regularly report to a parole authority in person, by mail, or by telephone. Conditions of parole may include requiring the defendant to stay in a halfway house and continuing with payments on fines. If a defendant fails to comply with his parole conditions, then the parole officer could file a report with the parole board, resulting in the defendant’s return to prison.