Parole is the conditional release of the convict of a crime before the end of the convicts’ period of imprisonment. The parole is subject to supervision by the justice and correctional authorities for the time of the remainder of the person’s imprisonment for violations of a person’s term in parole. Parole is issued for many reasons.First; it is less expensive to supervise a released victim than to incarcerate them. Parole also gives a person convicted of a crime a chance to contribute positively in society. The Society also experiences protection because the condition of revoking of a parole of a convict for minor transgressions prevents offenders from repeating the offenses. Supervision of a paroled convict ensures that convicts are able to reform back to society. Parole is, therefore, a good means of rehabilitating convicts back to society because it gives the convict guidance and supervision in integrating back into society (Garage 360).
There are three types of parole. Discretionary parole is the parole granted to a prison convict before the completion of a prison sentence time. The parole is subject to the conditions issued by a parole board. The parole board is the one that determines the eligibility of a prisoner for discretional parole after carefully reviewing the information related to the prisoner. Such information include data like whether the prisoner poses any harm to society, whether discretional parole will make the prisoner reintegrate well in society or whether the prisoner is able to live harmoniously in society with the conditions imposed by the parole board. Parole board personnel are the ones that supervises the prisoner for compliance with the discretional parole (Samara 462)
Decisions to award discretional parole to a convict are determined by many factors such as the nature of the crime, the criminal history of the offender the signs of reformed behavior in prison, the social background of a convict and the information obtained from the victims of the crime of affected communities. Discretionally parole does enhance the safety of the public by keeping the dangerous offenders in prison while carefully integrating reformed prisoners back to the society. Discretion parole is rooted in the idea that offenders can be inspired to make positive changes in their life and they are more likely to cooperate with the justice authorities if there are conditions put for obtaining good behavior (Garage 399).
The other form of parole is the mandatory parole. The is a judicial requirement for release of a convict from incarceration upon the subject to community supervision upon the expiry of a certain period specified by the determinate sentencing laws and other guidelines for sentencing. This form of parole is determined by the judges and the legislature and the conditions of the supervisor of a released felon for the period until the expiry of a sentence period. Mandatory parole is mainly state-initiated programs that are done on a formula basis. A prisoner or a convict is eligible for mandatory parole after serving a specific set time of the prison sentence which is mainly two-thirds of the sentence (Samara 467).
The prisoner released on mandatory parole remains under the supervision of the judicable authorities until the end of prison sentence unless the US judicial commission orders an end to the supervisor of the released convict. A prisoner who violates the terms of the mandatory parole risks the revoking of the parole release. However, even a prisoner whose parole has been revoked due to the violation of the terms of his parole is still eligible for another mandatory parole if the terms of his sentence are five years or more after the completion of the violator term. He or she can be considered for mandatory parole under the same conditions like nay another prisoner (Petersillia 152).
The major difference between a mandatory and a discretional sentence is that , a mandatory parole to be issued, a prisoner must have served an equivalent of two thirds of the prison term while a discretional parole can be issued at any time within the sentence period because it depends on the decision of a parole board (Samara 465). The other difference between a discretional and a mandatory parole is the fact that a mandatory parole is determined by the judge or the legislature while the discretional parole is determined by a parole boar. However for both paroles, the similar thing about both the paroles is the fact that prisoners enjoying such paroles are subject to supervision by the judicial authorities during the time of the parole. Violation of the terms of the terms of parole can also result to revoking of the parole in both discretional and mandatory paroles (Garage 466).
An expiration release in the parole granted to an inmate from incarceration after serving the maximum prison sentence of his term. These inmates are granted parole without conditions like the further correctional department supervisions. Prisoners cannot be brought to prison for any remaining term of imprisonment because of their current offense that they have been granted parole for. The major difference between an expiration release and the discretional and mandatory paroles is the fact that for an expiration sentence there is no mandatory requirement for supervision by judicial authorities of the conduct of the offender after release while supervision of offender is mandatory for a convict granted discretional and mandatory parole for the period remaining of their sentence (Samara 468).
According to Petersilia (252), Parole boards perform the function of examining and recording the entire record of a convict during a sentence. They recognize that prison authorities must manage better the inmates with the discretion to follow institutional rules. Paroles boards recognize the fact that a majority of offenders in prison will eventually be released from prison and therefore they enhance the process of inmate rehabilitation back to the society. Parole boards have the advantage of providing a unique position to listen and address the concerns and the needs of the victim of crimes and the communities affected by the crime and the convict themselves. Parole boards also have the advantage of being the only component of the criminal justice system that can evaluate all the factors in surrounding a crime and function to release only the offenders that pose the least threat to the community
During times of congestion in prison and there are few numbers of correctional beds, boards apply a very rational method that targets only the criminals who pose little threat to the community for release to decongest prisons. The main activities offered by parole services include investigations, victim advocacy, supervision of the offender, planning of offender release and immediate action against the violation of parole (Petersillia 262). All these services provide maximum safety to the public. Parole is, therefore, a very powerful and necessary partner to the victims of crimes the offender and the court system. Parole boards, therefore, ensure that the voice of the victim is heard and adhered to in the process of releasing a convict and therefore they create a good ally for the interested advocacy groups in a crime.
Parole board officers also present problems to the justice and the criminal system. For example, parole officers have very wide and broad latitude in the determination of the violations of the terms of a parole by a convict this leads to inconsistency in the monitoring of a convict because some officers may just require an explanation of the violations while other can send a convict back to jail for the same violation. Another disadvantage of parole boards are the severe restrictions and rules that are put before an offender under discretional parole. For example, offenders must be at specific places at the specific times like attending meetings with parole officers. A convict is also restricted from carrying out some activity, as consuming alcohol (Petersillia 264) these restrictions can sometimes is too much for an individual.
The other disadvantage that parole boards present to the justice system is the method they use in determining the eligibility of convicts for discretional parole. The parole boards consider the nature of the offense and the information provided about the impacts of the crime on the victim and the family of the crime victim. The offense therefore constitutes the major static factors used by the boards in determining eligibility for discretional parole the more serious the offense, The more the parole board become cautious about granting parole to victim (Garage 363).
If there is anything the victim’s family has a said about the facet of the crime, then the board must also consider that evidence. The board does consider victim empathy i.e. how the offender feels the effects of what the crime did to the victim to give the board of an idea of compassion for those who suffered bodily harm. When a crime victim pleads his innocence and refuses to discuss this with the board then the parole board is left with an information gap about the prisoner (Petersillia 268)
Petersillia ( 278), However reckons that the existence of parole boards is an essential components the criminal justice system designed to enhance public safety by making sure that only dangerous criminals are kept in prison and only those who pose a threat to the community are released and integrate into the society fast. In my own opinion, Parole is a new effective way of promoting public safety. The fact that that parole ensures that dangerous criminals are kept in prison and petty offenders are given a chance to reform first promotes public safety, Parole gives the chance to offenders of reforming within society rather than behind prison doors. Although there are few acts of recidivism to offenders given parole, parole remains an effective way of reforming prisoners.