The administration of probation is not as clear as that of jails and prison. There are 3 modes probation in the states: State – administered, local –administered and mixed models. Parole on the other hand, refers to the releases of a prisoner after seaming some part of sentences on condition. There is a period of supervision following a prison term. This means a parolee is placed on community supervision and must abide by certain conditions, and restriction just as probation. Prisoners who have served their full term are not placed under community supervision.
Origins of parole Towards the middle of the 19th century most lawbreakers were given flat sentences in prison. The offender received a specified amount of time to stay in prison for a specific crime committed. This resulted in a major problem since prisons became crowded. To address this issue the authorities were forced to give mass pardons or the prison warders released prisoners randomly in order to create room for incoming prisoners (Van 1977). Parole operates just like probation but it is administered at the state level.
The main differences is that parolees have served a prison term and most of them have been served a prison term and most have been convicted of felony. It also involves overall conditions just in probation such as fines. Intermediate sanctions such as home confinement are also used for parolees. (Thomas 2005) Advantages of parole and probation Cost: Probation and parole reduce costs of housing the offender in a detention facility. Corrections cost taxpayers about $ 70 billion annually. Implementing alternative to incarceration is a good measure of mitigating these costs.
Thus the efficient management of probation and parole will greatly minimize costs. Space: Another advantage of probation and parole is that they assist in reducing overcrowding in prisons and jail. Offenders who are placed on probation are usually not violent criminals. By using probation and parole, beds are freed up to keep violent criminals, which is a benefit to the society in general. Recidivism: If parole and probation are managed well they can reduce recidivism rate by close to 40%. Recidivism is where a criminal goes back to crime after being released from jail.
Reduction of this rate is very important because it reduces the overall crime rate and increases the safety of the society as a whole (Van 1977). Disadvantages of parole and probation Community Stigma: Offenders on probation and parole face harsh reactions from the community as the community may feel that these criminals are able to commit other crimes. This places strain on the life of the offenders as they try to adjust to normal life. Few Job Prospects: People on probation or parole must look for jobs to meet their financial obligations. They are required to disclose criminal records and probation or parole status to potential employers.
Most employers do not like people with criminal background thus forcing people on probation and parole to seek low paying jobs. Restrictions and Rules: People under parole and probation have difficulty adjusting to normal life because of the strict lifestyle that the restrictions demand. Contradiction in Monitoring: Probation and parole officers have liberty in determining the rules pertaining to violation of probation or parole. For example missing a session might be a violation to one officer and he may demand that the offender go back to prison, while another officer may just need an explanation (Thomas 2005)