Parole Criminal justice

Early release schemes provided in state prisons and correctional institutions, are an important incentives for prisoners or offenders, who have been confined for various offences and sentences. Parole systems influence prisoners to behave and co-operate while serving their sentences, through interventions with the goal of rehabilitation. The aspect of rehabilitation is thus aimed at reducing probable risks that inmates present, when they are eventually released to the public. Parole systems have their pros and cons, moreover with various perceptions attached to the issue of conducting parole, and releasing prisoners to the community.

Introduction Parole or early release schemes have received different perceptions from different bodies, activists, government institutions, and the community since its inception. Various arguments argue for and against the systems of parole citing various advantages and disadvantages, attached to the issue of suspended periods of incarceration, where prisoners are given an opportunity to re-integrate back in the society. Moreover, parole gives strict conditions to the prisoner to observe, coupled by various objectives to achieve in order to eventually receive full release, and allowed back into the community as a reformed individual.

Sanctions towards prisoners depend on the level of criminal offence committed by the offender, and consequently influence the punishment level handed to the prisoner attributed to the severity, and may be classified as follows; active punishment in a prison sentience, community punishment, and intermediate punishment. Early release schemes consequently foster initiatives that help in limiting the population size in prison institutions, with the major factor of giving inmates who have qualified for parole, the incentive to embrace rehabilitation and be co-operative on the release program.

This scheme gives prisoners a chance to be productive in the community, and reforming their behaviors that are acceptable to the society. The aim of this study is to analyze, the issue of parole in the criminal justice system, and how this initiative can be used as an incentive to control inmate behavior. In addition, the study will evaluate consequences attributed to delayed releases and how it impacts of prisoners, who have qualified for parole and probation. The Parole System Parole can be described as an early release scheme or system that allows for prisoners to be released to the community, prior to completing their sentences.

This process is granted upon various factors, such as crucial reports from probation officers and prison reports. Parole can also be defined as the discretionary decision made by State Board of Pardons in prisons and Parole Boards, which make the decision to release a particular prisoner or offender from incarceration or confinement, after she or he has already served a percentage of the prison sentence. Individuals, who are under parole, remain under the state control and supervision, with se conditions for which if they are violated, the person can be re-imprisoned.

There is a significant difference between parole and probation which at many times is confused (Howard, 2003). Probation can be described as an act passed through the courts, and not from the State Board of Pardons. Probation can be awarded instead of imprisonment by a court of law, for part or all, of an individual’s sentence. Probation cannot be equated to parole. Parole on the other hand, involves the Parole Board which can grant a person parole, after he or she has served a part of the sentence in prison. Whether parole is granted or not, various other factors influence this process of initiating early release schemes towards inmates.

Some of these factors include the seriousness and type of the offences committed by the prisoner, the situation at home for the prisoner, future plans for inmates after consequent release, and their behavior while they were in prison, compounded by other mitigating points. Parole entails both a discretionary and a guideline process that have merit. Discretionary parole gives the offender a chance for early release from incarceration, before his or her sentence expires based on the condition, towards sustained lawful behavior which is a focus to monitoring and supervision at the community level.

The parole personnel ensure that the prisoner complies with the conditions and terms of release. Discretionary parole is supported by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), to be a vital and fundamental part in the criminal justice system that strives for commitment towards public safety, reintegration of offenders as productive and law abiding citizens, coupled with victim and community restoration (Levitt, 2004 p. 437). Parole decisions are affected by several factors which primarily weigh the relevancy of punishment, community restoration, and successful reintegration of the offender.

Discretionary parole decisions enable correctional bodies to enhance public safety by confining dangerous prisoners, while those who have qualified for early release get the necessary assistance and structure, so that they can assimilate back into the community as responsible and law abiding citizens. Parole decision guidelines enables the parole board to carefully research on the offender’s case, and make sound, consistent and understandable parole decisions affecting prisoners who are serving non-life sentences.