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Probation and Parole: Advantages and Disadvantages

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Probation is a court order sentencing that consist of the defendant to either serve or complete the remaining sentence of imprisonment in a supervised community

The defendant that’s assigned to completing a probation sentence will be under supervision of an officer of the court; which are referred to as a Probation Officer. Probation is one of the most common criminal sentencing processes in the United States. A probation sentence generally allows most defendant to remain free in society while under supervision of their Probation Officer.

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What is probation? Probation is a court order sentencing that consist of the defendant to either serve or complete the remaining sentence of imprisonment in a supervised community. The defendant that’s assigned to completing a probation sentence will be under supervision of an officer of the court; which are referred to as a Probation Officer. Probation is one of the most common criminal sentencing processes in the United States. A probation sentence generally allows most defendant to remain free in society while under supervision of their Probation Officer. Those who are court ordered to probation are given specific court orders such as, maintaining good behavior, paying a fine, getting mental therapy, staying away from drugs and/or alcohol and reporting regularly to their court appointed probation officer. What is parole? Parole is an early release from imprisonment confinement. Parole allows the defendant a second chance at reentering the community

Parolee’s are usually granted by statutes, and these provisions vary from state to state. Before a defendant is granted release for parole they will have to appear in front of the parole board. The parole board is who actually decides when an incarcerated offender is ready to be released back into the community. Defendants are usually eligible to see the parole board once he or she has completed a percentage of their sentence in correctional confinement. When going to the parole board the defendant’s case is looked into to monitor their behavior and other special considerations. Once the defendant has been granted their release from correctional confinement the parole board determines whether placement in a residential facility, community release center or on electronic monitoring is appropriate for the defendant. The board also establishes special conditions in order to address an offender’s specific needs, ultimately reducing risk and improving success under supervision.

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According to Pew Center on the States (2009), parole and probation significantly reduces prison overcrowding, as well as, the associated costs of running the facilities (Figgis, 1998). In 2008, for example, explosive growth in the cost of running prisons became unusually high and strategies to control the effect had to be implemented. The same year, $5,672 million accounted for prison spending while only $788 million accounted for probation and parole expenditure (Pew Center on the States, 2009). Therefore, it becomes evident that both parole and probation plays a key role in reducing the cost of government spending in correctional facilities as compared to incarceration. As much as supervision of parole and probation matters, there are several similarities that link two processes. In both cases, the offenders have to report to an officer during the whole supervision program. Parolees have to report to parole officers, while individuals on probation reports to probation officers. Relevant sources show that 60 parolees became assigned to one parole officer, while probation officers had more than 100 probation victims to supervise (Pew Center on the States, 2009). Table 1.0 highlights the basic similarities that exist in the conditions governing offenders on parole and probation respectively

This decision arises through a hearing by a parole board, unlike in probation where the judge makes the final decision (Bradley, & Michael, 2001). Furthermore, probation accounts for part of the punishment made by a judge, while parole refers to supervision imposed after a term that already existed. According to relevant sources, parole allows the smooth transition of prison inmates into the society, while probation guides first offenders to limit the chances of committing other crimes.

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By and large, according to statistical information it can be concluded that abolishing parole would be detrimental to the Australian society as institutions would become overpopulated and prisoners would be released without having any support assisting them to adjust to the outside live

After a discussion whether parole is over and under utilised in Australia, it can be argued that parole has been utilised in a professional manner achieving it’s goals of rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders into the community, therefore it can be concluded that it has not been over utilised in Australia.

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Bradley, K., & Michael, O. (2001). The Role of Parole. Retrieved from the Community Resources for Justice. Web.

Figgis, H. (1998). Probation: An Overview. Retrieved from the NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service. Web.

Pew Center on the States. (2009). One In 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections. Retrieved from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Web.

Thigpen, M., Thomas, B., George, K., & Michael, G. (2003). Motivating Offenders to Change: A guide for Probation and Parole. Retrieved from the National Institute of Corrections. Web.

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