Key Differences Between Probation and Parole

 Posted on January 09, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal law, Illinois criminal lawyer,Whatever criminal charges you may be facing, there are a number of potential penalties and sentences that may be served as you move forward with the court process. Whether you have been accused of various property crimes, such as retail theft, burglary, or robbery, or you have been involved with a serious violent crime, such as domestic abuse or sexual assault, the sentence you are served in response to your criminal offense can vary in scope, length, and detail. In some cases, you may be eligible for parole or probation, two avenues often used by the justice system in combination with standard prison sentences.

The Prison Alternative

Depending on the nature surrounding the circumstances of your offense, chances are you will be incarcerated on some level if you are guilty of serious criminal activity. Alternatives to prison time do exist, but your eligibility for such options will depend greatly on the severity of your offense and the nature of your charges. Probation and parole are two common alternatives to incarceration, but they are often mistakenly confused as the same thing.

Here are three key differences between probation and parole:

1. Release Time

Parole is typically an early release from prison. For example, under parole, criminal offenders are released under certain conditions that allow them to serve the remainder of their sentence time out in the community. Probation usually happens before jail time, or in some cases replaces prison time entirely. A common probation occurrence is something called a “split sentence.” This means the jurisdiction sentences the offender to both short-term incarceration and probation. The probation period immediately follows the incarceration.

2. Supervision

Both parole and probation have an array of active and inactive supervision statuses. If the offender’s status is active, this means they must report regularly to a probation or parole officer, usually by phone or in person, or they run the risk of facing incarceration. Inactive status is sometimes granted due to a reduction in supervision, which usually stems from a less serious offense. While supervision works similarly for both probationers and parolees, the conditions that determine supervision status can differ. For example, probationers are generally placed on supervision in the community in lieu of prison time, while parolees are already-imprisoned offenders who are then released early to serve the remainder of their time in the community. The severity of the offense and many other factors will determine the level and nature of supervision release conditions.

3.  Means of Release

Probationers are typically placed on supervision via probation agency, while parolees may need to be released on parole via parole board decision (such as a discretionary release). Parolees may also be released through mandatory release, according to provisions of a particular statute. If you are in the process of experiencing either parole or probation and have concerns about your rights throughout the process, you need to talk with a competent Chicago criminal defense lawyer right away. Call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today at 312-629-0669 for a personal consultation.


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