Parole is a conditional advance release of an inmate. The term Parole is a French word that means promise. It was incorporated into the criminal justice system in the mid-era to refer to inmates freed after promising to adhere to the set conditions. An Inmate released on parole is referred to as a parolee. A parolee has to strictly observe parole terms’ failure to which their release is might be revoked.

Types of parole

The conditions of parole differ from one state to the other. But ideally, there are three types of parole, namely;

  • Discretionary parole: This is a form of parole that is reviewed and granted by the parole board. The boards determine the eligibility, conditions, receives and reviews the application. It can grant or deny the parole.
  • Mandatory parole: This form of release is provided for by the law and thus not determined by a parole board. It is often regarded as a “good time.”
  • Special needs parole: Involves early release of mentally ill or physically impaired prisoners. The parolee under this condition should not be a threat to security.
  • Expiatory parole: This is a form of release granted to the offenders who have completed their sentence in prison.

Terms and condition of parole

We started by stating that parole is conditional. In addition, the conditions set for a parolee to obey are subject to the magnitude of their committed offense and their conduct in prison. That said, there some universal conditions that parolees must observe. They include:

  • retain a job and residence,
  • desist from using drugs or alcohol,
  • report to a supervisor/ parole officer frequently,
  • tame their movements unless authorized,
  • participate in drug or alcohol recovery conferences and meetings,
  • refrain from engaging in criminal activities,
  • dissociate from people likely to commit a similar crime.

Eligibility for release on parole

The eligibility for release on parole varies from state to state. For example, in New York State, the New York State Board of Parole is the exclusive body responsible for granting or denying parole. For inmates serving indeterminate sentences, the NYS Board of parole decides whether to grant or deny parole to eligible candidates. For determinate cases, the prisoner must serve over 85% of their term in custody to qualify for parole.

Consequences of violating parole conditions

If a parolee breaches the conditions of their parole, their supervisor will issue them with a parole violation. Fortunately, not all infringements will drive you back to custody or to confinement. In fact, negligible violations, like taking alcohol, may merely need more counseling and alcohol-related treatment. Nevertheless, the worst you’ll expect is to serve your whole prison term behind bars.

In case you breach parole, your supervisor or parole officer might appeal for a parole hearing. In the course of the hearing, a judge or a board will listen to your presumed violation. They will then examine the conditions of your infringement. Then, they will determine how to settle it. This could mean you will be returned to prison or added more terms on your parole.

Importance of parole

  • It helps prisoners to adjust and reenter the society
  • Lowers costs of running prisons and jails
  • It minimizes congestion in prisons


Parole is a conditional early release. Its terms differ from state to state. Prisoners who are least likely to endanger the public safety can be released on parole if they are eligible.

The New York State Board of Parole has the mandate to examine and grant or decline parole in New York State. In New York, a prisoner has to serve over 85% of his/her sentence to be eligible for parole

Parole decongests prisons, cuts running costs, and helps offenders adjust to life out of custody.

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