Courts, court proceedings, and the judicial system in general use legal jargon that many people find confusing or need further explanation of what they mean. In some cases, an explanation can help someone understand the consequences of the term or what would happen if the legal directive is not followed carefully could mean for their future.
One term that many lawyers and magistrates use often that could use some explanation is the term parole. Understanding the concept of parole and the conditions of parole can mean the difference between living life under certain court-mandated conditions or finding themselves in legal jeopardy and potentially in jail.
What Is Parole?
Parole is conditional freedom for someone who has been convicted of a crime and has done a certain amount of their sentence.
Parole is not just an early release from jail but it is a form of community supervision for someone who has served a portion of their time. A parolee is someone who has been convicted and served a portion of their crime. A parole officer is then someone whose job it is to ensure that parolees comply with the conditions imposed by a parole board or other correctional authorities.
Ultimately, parole is a time when the person previously convicted of a crime has a chance to live in society under certain rules and conditions that will hopefully keep them away from criminal activity as well as protect the public. It is a transition back to living in society.
What Are Common Parole Conditions?
In order to remain under parole and live outside the walls of a jail or prison confinement, a parolee must follow certain conditions of release.
Parole conditions vary according to the type of crime but there are many commonalities to many conditional releases. These include:
- Maintaining employment and a residence usually within a certain area – promptly informing a probation officer of a change in employment
- Avoiding criminal activity and contact with any victims
- Refraining from drug use (and sometimes alcohol use)
- Attend drug or alcohol recovery meetings
- Living in a specified geographic area and not leaving without permission from the parole officer
- Agreeing to not possess any weapons such as guns
- Reporting to a parole officer at regular intervals
- Agreeing to unannounced visits and searches of residence, car, or other area
These conditions are usually set out by a parole board which determines if the parolee qualifies for parole. These conditions, and other specific conditions to each case, are spelled out in a parole contract that is signed and witnessed by the parole board, the parolee, and the legal counsel to the person being granted parole.