Parole and Probation


Author: B.A. PRATHESHTA, SASTRA Deemed to be University, Thanjavur.

*This article has been written by the author while pursuing a Certificate Course on Research Methodology with us.


Punishment is the community’s resolution to the damages it encounters through offences. Penalties, imprisonment, and, in a few cases, compensation are the foremost general strategies of sentence dispensed to criminal wrongdoers by the community through the criminal justice system in this country. This can be contrary to torts and civil law, in which damages is paid by one person or association to a different. Unimaginable efforts are placed into the legislative and judicial offices to govern what sentence is appropriate for different offences depending on their nature and heinousness. The law of Crimes tries unendingly for a solidity amongst being copious and fewer: penalizing folks cruelly for his or her offences will cause additional destruction to the society than the crime being corrected, whereas being additional merciful with sentence worsens the criminal justice’s competency and may rust its concrete drive. Commission of offence and therefore the procedure followed should be neither extreme nor inadequate, however, it ought to be a reasonable sentence for the offence. Parole and probation are very important tools used for restructuring of the offenders. They’re used as stability of not being severe and not soft. This article will be particularization on parole and probation.


  • Parole: The Cambridge Dictionary defines parole as “permission for a prisoner to be released before their period in prison is finished, with the agreement that they will behave well”.  [1]
  • Similarly, the Lexico (Oxford) dictionary defines parole as, “The release of a prisoner temporarily (for a special purpose) or permanently before the completion of a sentence, on the promise of good behavior.”[2]

  • Probation: The Lexico (Oxford) dictionary defines probation as, “The release of an offender from detention, subject to a period of good behavior under supervision.”[3]
  • Cambridge dictionary defines probation as, “a period of time when a criminal must behave well and not commit any more crimes in order to avoid being sent to prison.”[4]


The term probation and parole are the two substitutes to the imprisonment, where the behavior of the wrongdoer is administered according to the law. Probation can be said as a penalty levied by the court in which the criminal lawbreaker is not imprisoned but permitted to continue to stay in the community, on the promise of good conduct, subject to the administration of the probation officer. In difference, parole is one in which the prisoner is unconfined from the prison either momentarily or permanently, earlier the end of the judgment, subject to good conduct.

  • Probation refers to the judgment given to the convicts, in which the convicts continue out of jail, under the direction of a probation officer, and follows the directions set forth in the judgment by the court of law. Parole means the former period release of the prisoner, on the condition that the prisoner shall be under the control of the respective authority and imprisonment, will be continued upon the non-adherence of conditions stated.
  • Probation is approved by the judge as an alternative of the detention, whereas parole is nothing but an arrangement of restrictive release from the jail.
  • The pronouncement of probation of a suspect(s) is given by the court. Contrasting, the parole board gives the pronouncement about the parole of an inmate.
  • The probation is approved to the suspect before imprisonment, that is despite directly sending the suspect to the prison, they are given an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, through this procedure. On the other end, parole is permitted later the wrongdoer has finished a specified period of their judgment term in jail.
  • Probation is granted to those peoples who have no previous criminal record so far and also for the criminalities that do not involve viciousness. As in contradiction of, parole is permitted to those offenders which are previously in prison, and also presented to grave offenders, who pursue virtuous behavior, during the period of their verdict.
  • A person who has approved probation, reports to the probation officer, though, the default in reporting to the respective authority may lead to resentencing to prison, for a specific time. On the other hand, the criminal under parole has to report to the parole officer, but in case if the suspect fails in reporting without rational reason, the criminal is sent back to the prison on the grounds of the original judgment.


Generally, probation and parole officers have moreover similar duties. The foremost basic duty of the officers is to supervise and control the wrongdoers, this permits them to be the caseworkers also as law enforcers because they need to make sure that the offenders don’t break any laws being in force. Some argue that supervision is the most vital aspect of the task. Probation and parole officers have several duties that they have to attend to. They conduct home visits, perform curfew checks, and verify with the employer of the wrongdoer is truly employed. They also help the wrongdoer get into treatment facilities if they have it. These are some of the duties that these officers have to accomplish. To become a probation or parole officer the intending person should bear specialized training at a guardian Standards and Training facility. Once this training is completed, they become the Peace Officers Standards and Training Council, commonly referred to as POST certified peace officers. They are required to participate in training programs every quarterly in their concerned areas of the job.


The main objective of parole is to persuade the humanitarian access to the prison system. It permits the convict to go out of prison for a short period which in turn eases their progress to a beneficial citizen. It is important to know that parole is a courteous act and cannot be preserved as the right. Parole can also be termed as an essential reformative method for the convicts, which is vital, as they still are very much part of the society. As per the existing system, each judgment above eighteen months is qualified for parole after completion of one-third of the jail period.

The all-out period permitted for parole is one month and the inmate has to satisfy the condition of the minimum imprisonment period to be aided with parole. Some of the grounds on which parole is permitted are: –

  • Grave sickness of a close family member.
  • Death of a family member.
  • An accident of a family member.
  • The marriage of a family member.
  • Delivery of a child by the prisoner’s wife.
  • Serious damage to life or property of a family member due to natural calamity.[5]

However, there are some offenders who are not eligible for Parole those are:

  • Prisoners who have been or are involved in criminal activities against the state
  • Prisoners who are threats to national security
  • Prisoners who are not citizens of India
  •  Prisoners who are convicted of multiple murders or for murder & rape of a child or children are also exempted to Parole.[6]


        The procedure for parole includes the following steps: –

  • The inmate after finishing the mandatory prison period files a petition for parole.
  • The prison authority then enquires for a statement from the police station where the arrest was made.
  • The statement is then verified.
  • If the reason for parole is a medical emergency, relevant medical records and certificates are also verified.
  • The final report is then submitted to the Deputy Secretary, State Government or Inspector General of Prisons.
  • The competent authority then takes the decision on parole.[7]


Probation is an alternative to imprisonment. It is a suspension of a sentence of a wrongdoer by the court of law and releasing him on specific conditions to live in the community with or without the control or supervision of a probation officer. The Probation system was introduced in India in 1958 bypassing the Central Probation Act. However, Section 562 in 1898 Criminal Procedure Code permits the release of a wrongdoer on probation but it applies only to the juvenile delinquents and first-time offenders. There was no provision for supervision and only first-class magistrates were authorized to grant probation. During the British rule in 1934, the British administration permitted provincial governments to pass their own rules authorizing probation. In 1936, Madras and Madhya Pradesh government enacted such an Act. Following them, in 1938, Bombay and Uttar Pradesh governments, and in 1953 Hyderabad government and in 1954 West Bengal government came up with provisions relating to probation.  However, all those Acts provided provisions only for the juvenile delinquents. The Central Probation Act, 1958 was applicable to all criminals. It permits the release on probation for a maximum period of three years and also has a provision for canceling the term. Some states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Himachal Pradesh have linked probational provisions with social welfare and other states like Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala linked the provisions with the Prison Department. Madhya Pradesh has linked it with the Law Department, while Karnataka has its separate Directorate. [8]


The most important object of the probation system is to prevent the conversion of first-time offenders into obstinate offenders. The aim of Criminal Law is persuaded to the reformation of the wrongdoer rather than punishing him with imprisonment. As an alternative to keeping a suspect with toughened offenders in jail, the court of law can direct personal freedom on the promise of good conduct and can also direct a period of regulation over a criminal. This is the idea behind ‘probation’. Black’s law dictionary defines ‘probation’ as ‘allowing a person convicted of some minor offence (particularly juvenile offenders) to go at large, under a suspension of sentence, during good behavior, and generally under the supervision or guardianship of a ‘probation officer’.[9]

It is thought that incarceration shrinks the ability of a criminal to readapt to the ordinary world later the release and alliance with proficient criminals frequently have undesirable consequences on the first time offender and his life then. Probation is a socialized corrective device that has aroused as the consequence of alteration, over a time period, of the principle of deterrence into the principle of reformation; progress that paved the way to the introduction of the clinical approach and the doctrine of individualization in the treatment of criminals.


Probation and Parole works are considered as dangerous jobs. They deal with the offenders at each stage of the criminal justice system. Their work leads to job-related stress. Supervisors, Support staff, and family members are also affected by stress. High caseloads, Paperwork, and deadlines are the big three main sources of stress dealt with probation and parole officers. Disliked by the supervisor, failure of recognizing job, low salaries are some of the other causes of stress. Some feel that they are held accountable for the misdeeds of the offender.

Probation and parole officers use different methods to cope with stress. Some take extra sick leave; some request for transfer and some apply for early retirement. Some officers practice physical exercise to cope with stress. Some officers seek support from fellow colleagues, family members, etc, and Stress reduction program helps the officers to deal with their stress. This program can save money, improve staff performance, and ensures the safety of officers and the public.


Comprehensive services- Washington State Department of Corrections:

Washington’s Department of corrections through a survey learned that stress has increased among community correction officers and other employees. As a result, the department established five regional staff resource centers. At the center, staffs believe that for stress management both mental and physical health is important. Counselors and occupational nurse consultants take part in critical incident responses; they conduct stress management training, promote staff participation in wellness programs, and treat minor stress-related physical problems.


Probation and Parole are alternatives for incarceration. The offender whether on probation or parole is expected to follow some rules known as conditions or terms of probation or parole. If the offender fails to follow the conditions of probation or parole, he is said to have violated the conditions of probation and parole. Such violation results in imprisonment, revocation of probation, modification of conditions, or imposition of structured sanctions where structured sanctions include jail time, house arrest, community service, or electronic surveillance.

When probationers are accused of violating the probation conditions, he is entitled to a hearing before the judge. The judge decides whether to cancel the probation or to modify the conditions according to the type of violation committed by the offender. If the probation is canceled, the offender is sentenced to jail. If the judge chooses to modify the conditions, such modification is related to the violation.

Similarly, when parolees are accused of violating the parole conditions, he is entitled to hearing before the parole board rather than a judge. The parole board decides the offender of the consequences has to pay.


In spite of the extensive usage of probation, parole, and other communal authorizations there still remains an argument about the efficiency of such usages. The practical indication specifies that some correctional approvals, such as rigorous regulation, electrical monitoring, shock probation, and other control-oriented practices do not reduce repetition. These approvals may achieve another penalty area, such as dipping jail flocking, but reoffending is typically the most significant standards by which communal correctional agendas are restrained. Other decisions, such as halfway houses and day reporting centers can be operative in altering criminal conduct, on condition that they deliver superior handling agendas and amenities.[10]