Though in popular media and other kinds of public discourse you can find a great deal of attention given to crime and the criminal justice system, more often than not you will find hardly any emphasis on probation or parole, specifically. So, it should not be a surprise to hear that most people are unaware that a difference exists between the two concepts.
Both are important aspects of the criminal justice system, whose functions are to reduce the length of time a convict spends behind bars. There are, however, important differences in how they are applied. This post explains the primary differences (and similarities) between probation and parole in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and the way in which they can benefit you or loved one who has been found guilty of a criminal offense.
Probation and Parole
While there are lot of people who are against criminal offenders being released to serve their sentences in the community, of the estimated 7 million offenders under correctional supervision in the United States only 2 million are actually in jail or prison, at a cost to the government of roughly $40,000 per individual, per year. The remainder are on probation (3 million) or parole (2 million) at an average cost of $4,000 to $5,000 per individual, per year.
So, the vast majority of offenders are supervised in the community, which allows federal and state governments to save a substantial amount of money. This benefit to our states and federal government (and, in the end, to the taxpayers) needs to be weighed against the desire to keep our communities as safe as possible, which remains as the largest single justification for the existence of probation and parole.
This serves as a sentencing alternative given to judges to employ with less serious offenders. Probation is typically given in lieu of incarceration and imposes certain conditions and restrictions on the convicted person’s release.
For example, assuming you are a first-time offender or perhaps your offense is not of a serious nature, the judge may permit you to serve your sentence in the community on probation and under the supervision of an officer of the court, for anywhere from one to several years. If you comply with the conditions of your probation, you will be able to remain free. However, if you choose to violate any one of the conditions of your probation, you will probably be ordered to spend the remainder of your sentence behind bars.
Parole In Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Parole, in contrast, is an early release from prison. Once granted, it enables the convicted person to be released from prison to serve the remainder of the sentence in the community on probation and under the supervision of an officer of the court.
In the event you are indeed paroled from prison, you may remain free to serve the rest of your sentence in the community, provided that you comply with the conditions of your release. Violate any one of the conditions of your release and you most likely will be returned to prison to complete the rest of your sentence behind bars.
Parole is a privilege, not a right. Typically, only inmates who meet certain requirements with respect to their conduct while incarcerated, express remorse for their crimes, and are believed less likely to reoffend, are eligible for parole.
Moreover, some convicts are commonly sentenced by the judge to serve time with no possibility of parole, and anyone found guilty of violent crimes and sex offenses will most likely have a difficult time being granted parole.
The Primary Differences And Similarities Between Probation And Parole
The main distinction between probation and parole in Tahlequah is the jail time. There is typically little or no jail time served with probation, while parole is an early release from time already being served.
Probation and parole are similar in that the offender is allowed to complete all or a portion of their sentence in the community while being supervised by an officer of the court and under certain conditions and restrictions. These conditions are chiefly that they:
- regularly report to their parole or probation officer;
- not commit any additional crimes;
- not leave the state of Oklahoma unless they obtain written approval in advance;
- avoid using or having any drugs in their possession;
- avoid contact with other offenders; and
- submit to random searches and drug tests.
How You or a Loved One Can Benefit From Probation and Parole in Tahlequah, Oklahoma
If you are on parole from prison and adhere to the conditions of your release, you will be able to remain free while completing the remainder of your sentence. Likewise, if you are sentenced to probation and abide by the rules, you will not have to serve any time in jail. Furthermore, certain offenders who are sentenced to probation, and meet all of the conditions of their release may later have the charges against them dismissed altogether.
So, in either case, strict adherence to the conditions of your release is extremely important to your freedom. If you are on probation or parole and are having any trouble complying with any of the conditions of your release, you should speak with a Tahlequah attorney and your parole officer before it becomes an issue that jeopardizes your eligibility to remain free.
Free Consultation: Tahlequah Criminal Defense Attorney
For a free consultation with a Tahlequah criminal defense attorney, call 918-458-2677 or toll free at 1-888-447-7262.
Or, as always, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page.