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Understanding Parole


When a convicted criminal exhibits exemplary behavior throughout his/her prison sentence, he/she may be released on parole. When this occurs, he/she is able to complete the remainder of his/her prison sentence outside of the containment facility. The prisoner will return to society and remain under the supervision of a parole officer.

A parole officer will monitor the behavior of his/her charge, in order to ensure that the convict adheres to all of the terms of his/her parole. In order for an individual to obtain parole, he/she must appear before a parole board. the type of crime an individual has committed will determine when he/she is eligible for parole. For example, in most states, an individual who has committed a non-violent crime will be provided a parole hearing after he/she has completed one quarter of his/her sentence. Violent offenders must wait longer before being eligible for parole, and some convicts will not be considered eligible at all.

During a parole hearing, the parole board will consider a variety of factors about the prisoner being reviewed. For example, the board will take into account his/her offense, behavior in prison, social history, and prior criminal record. Most importantly, the board will seek to determine whether the inmate continues to pose a threat to others and the likelihood that he/she will commit another offense.

Only a small percentage of convicts who are eligible for parole are granted this supervised released. If a prisoner is released on parole, he/she must comply with all specified terms of his/her parole. If he/she violates these terms, he/she will be incarcerated again.

NEXT: Can Rehabilitation of Felons Work?

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