The use of PROBATION and PAROLE is governed in part by competing philosophies, classicalism and positivism. Classicalists think that a person, when he gets involved in a criminal activity he does it willingly. So he should be punished for his activity. On the other hand positivists think a person gets involved in criminal activities because he becomes motivated or he is forced to do that criminal activity. So, instead of punishing him it is better to take him through rehabilitation program. Legislative acts and public sentiment further dictate the application of probation and parole. Therefore, universal and consistent definitions and applications of probation and parole are not available as the methods of punishment and governing philosophies have evolved and moved toward the twenty-first century.
The word “probation” derived from the Latin word “probatum” which means act of proving. And probation means testing to determine character and qualification. This is also kind of punishment which is milder than jail punishment. This is actually trial period that a person must have to complete before enjoying full freedom.
Basically probation is a procedure that releases a party found guilty into community without doing prison time. When a party is released under probation he must have to maintain certain conditions. If he does not follow any of the conditions or breaks any of the conditions, his probation will be cancelled.
Concept of probation is actually based on positivist view. According to this view no person gets involved in crime willingly. He or she is forced to be involved because of situation. So, it’s better to give chance to guilty so that he can correct himself through rehabilitation activities.
A resident of Boston name John Augustus promoted concept of probation in the mid-nineteenth century. From 1841 to 1859 Augustus was able to make release of around 2000 offenders into his custody and released them from doing prison time. 
Reasons of giving probation:
Probation is becoming popular form of punishment day by day. There are several reasons for this.
- Opportunity for convicted to correct oneself:
During probation a convicted is released into community under certain conditions. Most of the time a probationer has to do some community work. Sometimes one has to pay fine for his or her activity. A probationer must have to follow conditions imposed by court. Tasks assigned by the court works as rehabilitation program for convicted person and it gives him or her opportunity to correct himself for his activity.
- 2. Milder punishment for less offensive activity:
If all convicted persons are given sentence to jail, them it may not be fair all the time. We consider doing prison time as punishment of serious offense. We reserve this harsher punishment for bigger activity. Probation is considered as milder punishment as convicted does not have to do prison time rather he has to do community work or go through rehabilitation program. Probation justifies punishment of minor offensive activities.
- 3. Prisons are becoming overcrowded:
As the days are going on number of prisoners are increasing at alarming rate. On the other side rate going out from prison is very low. As a result prisons are becoming more and more overcrowded. It has become very difficult to arrange places in prisons for prisoners. It is seen that two or more than two persons are staying in one persons place. Through probation convicted are given punishment without staying in prison. So, it helps to reduce increasing pressure on prison space.
- Probation is more economical:
When a person is put into jail there are lots of expenses behind him. Government has to take care of him for the entire prison time. It causes huge expense for government. Moreover the way numbers of convicted persons are increasing, it has become very tough for government to allocate huge budget for this large numbers of convicted persons. On the other hand during probation government does not have to take expenses responsibility of a convicted person. It saves a lot of money of government.
The word “parole” derives from the French word “parol” which means “word of honor”. Basically parole means any form of early release of a prisoner under supervision, after portion of sentence has been served.
Once a prisoner serves certain portion of his sentence, he can be eligible for parole. The percentage a prisoner must have to serve depends on offense and laws of that states. Parole actually allows a person to work in community like a normal person. But he must have to do it under supervision. When parole is given to a person, it is assumed that person has been so good in following rules and regulations of prison and therefore can maintain society’s norms and laws very effectively.
Reasons of giving parole
Reasons of giving parole are almost same as reason of giving probation. These are discussed below:
- 1. To justify punishment level:
A prisoner is released earlier when it is seen that he or she is following each and every rule of prison very properly. In this situation it is assumed that this person can maintain society’s norms and regulations if he is released. So, as it is assumed this person will no longer harm society, so release can be given.
- 2. For contributing to society:
A prisoner can be released after serving jail for specific time period by thinking that this person will contribute to society in better way which will cause development of society.
- 3. Rehabilitation:
Sometimes parole work as rehabilitation. Many times proper treatment facilities cannot be provided to prisoners. In this kind of situation parole is given to offenders for better treatment.
- 4. Less expensive:
It has been seen that parole is almost 90% less expensive for government than staying in prison. It reduces government expenses to a greater extent. On top of that convicted starts serving community through which society becomes benefitted.
Types of supervision for probation and parole:
For both probation and parole supervision is common. Whether a convicted is given probation or parole, he must have to stay under some sorts of supervision. Now what types of supervision is applied on which type of convicted person completely depends on situation and that person’s past history. Generally we see three types of supervision.
- 1. Intensive Supervision:
In intensive supervision a convicted is monitored continuously. Supervisor officer may visit person’s workplace or house any time. In fact camera, tracking device can also be place for that person. This kind of supervision is generally applied for more offensive persons.
- 2. Standard Supervision:
Convicted person has to report to responsible officer after every specific time. Supervisor officer does not need to monitor convicted person continuously. But convicted must have to report timely. Otherwise probation or parole can be cancelled.
- 3. Informal supervision:
If convicted do not have to report anywhere physically or if there is no monitoring on convicted person, it will be called zero supervision. Under this kind of supervision convicted may only have to report through mail or by some other way. But application of this kind of supervision is very rare.
Compare between probation and parole:
Probation and parole is very much similar regarding output and various aspects. But still from the above discussion we can see some of the difference between this two. Differences that we have observed from our above discussions are given below.
||Probationer doesn’t have to serve prison time.||Parolee must have to serve specific prison time before going getting parole.|
||Probationer must have to stay under supervision||Parolee also has to stay monitored by supervisor.|
||Usually probation is given for crime that was done in small scale.||Usually parole is given to people who were involved in big scale crime. That’s why they have to serve certain prison time.|
||Decision regarding probation is based on Judicial decision.||Decision regarding parole is based on administrative decision.|
||Usually probation is given for longer time period.||Usually parole is given for shorter time period than probation.|
||A probationer does not have to pay any kind of fees for supervision.||A parolee may have to pay a very minimum fee for supervision.|
||If a probationer breaks any conditions given during probation period, probation will be cancelled and he will have to face court for his activity.||If parolee does not follow condition imposed on him, he may have to go to prison again.|
Probation was actually derived from the positivist view. It is very much true that serving in prison cannot be solution all the time. Moreover staying in jail is not justified for small or unintentional faults too. Probation and parole both are very popular in this century. But judging for both is completely based on individuals. Many take advantages of this by using power. Except from this, both systems are very fruitful and effective system.
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 Individuals are forced into the choice of committing crime through no fault of their own and, therefore, the conditions and/or behaviors that caused the action should be remedied, ultimately resulting in rehabilitation of the offender.