Is There a Difference Between Parole and Probation?

Probation and parole are both closely associated with incarceration and come with specific conditions for the offender. The main difference between the two is that probation is usually a part of the offender’s sentence, while parole usually comes after the offender has served some time in prison. The primary goals of parole and probation are the rehabilitation of offenders and reducing the risk that they’ll commit a new crime.

What Exactly is Parole?

Parole refers to the early release of an offender from prison before they have served their entire sentence. People on parole, also called parolees, will still be supervised for the remainder of their sentence, and must follow all the conditions of their parole, which typically include:

  • Reporting to and following all the directions of their parole officer
  • Paying victim restitution, supervision fees, and related fines
  • Completing a substance abuse assessment and following all the evaluator’s recommendations
  • Not using or possessing illegal drugs and submitting to testing for alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Doing community service work
  • Finding and maintaining schooling or employment
  • Not leaving the state and not changing residence or employment without official permission
  • Consenting to searches
  • Not possessing any weapons

Take note that parole is not a right. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles must consider various factors when determining whether a prisoner deserves parole. These factors typically include:

  • The nature and severity of the prisoner’s underlying offense and whether the sentencing judge made parole recommendations
  • Whether the prisoner followed all the rules in prison
  • Whether any victims were strongly concerned or opposed to parole
  • Whether the prisoner can reintegrate into society successfully

What Exactly is Probation?

Probation is part of an offender’s sentence at the time of their conviction. While a probation sentence may sometimes include jail time, it often allows offenders to stay out of jail. Like parole, those on probation must follow the conditions of their probation, which are similar to the conditions of those on parole.

But unlike parole, probation is not determined by a board. Rather, after a trial or plea bargain, a judge will decide whether probation is right for the offender. Judges normally consider various factors when deciding whether to give probation, including the offender’s criminal history and the severity of the crime.

What If I Violate My Parole or Probation?

If an offender violates any condition of their release or commits another offense, the court will revoke the probation or parole. The offender can request a hearing to challenge the revocation. They can be sent to jail or back to prison or remain under parole or probation with additional conditions if the judge or board determines that a violation has occurred. Other penalties for parole and probation violations might include house arrest, community service, electronic surveillance, modification of the parole or probation conditions, and jail time.

Consult With an Experienced San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have concerns or questions about parole or probation, reach out to the San Antonio criminal defense lawyer at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC for legal assistance. Call our office at 210-222-9132 or send us an online message to arrange your case evaluation.

Pedro Aylin
the authorPedro Aylin