How To Understand and Navigate the Parole and Probation Process for An Inmate
The introduction of parole and probation as a form of serving a sentence has become a game changer in the justice system. They came with various benefits, including;
- Inmates can finish their sentences outside prison walls on parole.
- If granted probation, one would not go to prison at all
- Reducing correctional facilities’ overcrowding could result in the fast spread of diseases and violence.
- It helps save money in managing prisons and jails, protecting taxpayers from hefty payments.
- The individuals can look for work and travel if they are approved.
It is vital to understand the process involved in attaining either if you are looking into helping a loved one out. The following post will help you know how to navigate through.
What Is Parole?
A parole is an early release from prison when an inmate satisfies the requirements to acquire one. One of the major ones is the community’s safety if the administration releases them. The parolee will still be under the supervision of the prison management as long as it is stated in their release conditions. A board is responsible for the whole process, which includes the following:
- Determining if an inmate is eligible
- Carrying out a parole hearing
- Giving conditions that the inmate should adhere to during their parole
- Revoking parole in case the individual fails to observe the requirements
Parole eligibility is when a convicted criminal may be released from prison before serving their complete sentence.
The time you must serve in prison before becoming eligible for parole depends on your crime and how long you have already been incarcerated. For example, if you are convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole, you may not be eligible for parole until 20 years have been served.
The parole hearing is an essential step in the process. The board will decide whether or not one is eligible for release. They must look at various factors to determine if one should be released on parole. These include:
The Nature of the Crime Committed by the Offender
For example, if it was a violent offense or involved drugs or alcohol as well as violence. It would be an aggravating factor against the early release on parole. However, if it were an isolated incident not involving drugs or alcohol, this would be a mitigating factor in favor of early release on parole.
The more serious the offense, the less likely one will be granted parole. However, if they had no criminal record before committing the crime and have progressed in prison, this can help their case.
Your Conduct While in Prison
Prison officials track how well inmates follow the rules and interact with other inmates and staff members. Good behavior is measured by how well they follow prison rules, such as following orders from staff and obeying curfew restrictions.
The inmate must be at least 21 years old to be eligible for parole. However, the Board may consider early release if they are still young enough to benefit from necessary counseling and drug abuse rehabilitation.
Your Age at the Time of Sentencing
Younger people have a better chance of being released on parole than older people. Also, if they were sentenced as a juvenile, they may be eligible for parole earlier than adults.
The longer the remaining sentence is, the less likely they will be granted parole. Inmates who have been in prison for more than ten years and have a life sentence are not eligible for parole. They should have served at least 25 years of their sentence. For murder or treason, they will not be considered for parole until after 15 years.
An inmate’s health may deteriorate due to illness or injury since incarceration. In that case, they can apply for parole. People nearing the end of their lives or the elderly are also good candidates for it.
What Is Probation?
Probation is when one serves a sentence outside of prison but under the supervision of an officer. While on it, one must comply with specific conditions the judge sets. Note that it can get revoked if the terms are not met.
A person on probation may leave the state for work or other reasons. However, they have to get permission from the person in charge of their probation.
Factors That Determine Probation Eligibility
Probation can be granted as part of a sentence or as an alternative to jail time. It is determined by state law, which varies from place to place.
When determining whether someone is eligible for probation, the judge will consider several factors, including the person’s criminal history and other circumstances surrounding the case.
If a person meets all the criteria for probation, it doesn’t mean they will receive it — judges have discretion over placing someone on probation. But if they do not meet all the requirements, they may face jail time instead.
Here are some factors that may make a person eligible for probation:
The defendant must be charged with a non-violent crime.
Violent crimes involve force or threat of violence, such as murder, rape, assault and battery, and kidnapping. Non-violent crimes are usually property crimes like theft but can also include traffic violations such as driving under the influence (DUI).
- The defendant must not have been convicted of any prior felonies or misdemeanors within the past ten years.
- That is, unless they were only minor traffic violations or similar offenses that did not involve drugs or violence.
- If you have been convicted of one prior felony within ten years, you are ineligible for probation in some states.
You’re not a repeat offender.
If you’re a repeat offender, the odds of being granted parole are very low. That’s because repeat offenders are more likely to commit another crime and less likely to participate in rehabilitation programs.
So, if your current offense is your second or third, you must show the parole board that this was an isolated incident–and that you have learned from it so that it won’t happen again.
Courts usually impose sentences contingent on a defendant’s willingness to comply with specific conditions. They may include the following:
- Drug testing
- Community service hours
- Ongoing counseling sessions
- Payment of fines and court costs
How To Navigate the Parole and Probation Process for An Inmate
When a loved one is in prison, it’s hard even to imagine how they can get out. But if they’re eligible for parole or probation, there are some steps you can take to help make that happen.
Figure Out Their Eligibility
If you want to know if an inmate is eligible for parole, you can contact the appropriate state department of corrections. In some states, this information is available online. You can also call or visit the prison where they are being held.
If your loved one isn’t eligible for parole, there’s nothing you can do in terms of helping them with their case at this time. However, they may become eligible at some point in their sentence (assuming they don’t get into trouble). In that case, it will be easier for them to get out on parole once it becomes available again after serving a certain amount of time behind bars.
Get All the Information You Can
When navigating an inmate’s parole and probation process, getting as much information as possible is essential. You should ask the lawyer helping you if they have any resources to help with this process.
They can give you a list of community organizations that provide free legal services or other resources, such as social workers or caseworkers who can help with housing options and employment opportunities.
You should also talk with family members and friends who have been through something similar before so they can offer advice on what they did right or wrong in their situation.
Ask For Help from Lawyers
As you begin the parole and probation process, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do this alone. You can ask for help from lawyers who have experience with these matters. A lawyer can help you prepare for the parole hearing, assist with any legal issues that may arise during your case, and even get the best possible outcome for your situation.
A good lawyer will know how best to represent someone in their specific situation and ensure they get what they need out of their time behind bars–whether that means being released early or serving their complete sentence without incident.
Prepare For the Process
You can prepare for parole and probation by writing down your questions. Understanding the parole process and what it means for your loved one is essential, so read up on it if necessary. Talk to your lawyer and family members about what you should expect during this period, especially if this is their first time going through it.
You may feel unsure about what steps are best for your loved one and yourself; however, it’s important not to let this overwhelm or discourage either party from making positive changes in their lives during this transition period!
Make Sure You Understand the Options
Before you begin the process, make sure you understand the options. A lawyer or family member should help an inmate figure out which parole and probation programs are available in her state and how to apply for them.
They may also want to prepare for what’s ahead: meeting with counselors and other professionals; participating in classes; staying sober; finding work, or different ways of self-support. Even if it feels like an uphill battle, remember that helping someone get back on their feet is worth it.
Help Them Get Back on Their Feet
It may include:
- Rehabilitation programs
- Job training
- Housing assistance
- Transportation assistance (to and from work, school, etc.)
- Education programs and tuition aid/scholarships
You can help your loved one find housing by contacting local shelters or other temporary housing organizations. If you can do so, it will make the transition easier for both of you. Also, they won’t have to worry about finding somewhere safe and comfortable to stay while they get back on their feet.
What Can Lead to A Violation of Parole or Probation?
You may wonder what can get you into trouble for violating parole or probation. Many things can break your release. Here are a few examples:
Violating The Terms of Your Release
These violations include being charged with new crimes while on probation or parole, missing drug tests, not attending required counseling sessions or treatment programs, and skipping out on meetings with the probation officer or parole agent.
Failing To Pay Fines or Restitution
A judge may have ordered fine payments or restitution as part of the sentence for violating probation or parole. Failure to do so will be considered a violation of your release conditions.
Missing scheduled appointments with the probation officer or parole agent, including drug tests is a violation. They need to notify them ahead of time and reschedule.
Committing Another Crime While on Parole or Probation
If one commits another crime while on parole or probation, the judge will likely send them back to prison.
We hope the above information has helped you understand the parole and probation processes. You must take action immediately if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges that could lead to prison time.
Parole and probation offer a great chance of reducing or avoiding incarceration altogether. It will help the accused get back their lives together and continue growing as and being valuable members of the community.