In movies, books, television shows, and conversations with friends, the words “parole” and “probation” seem to be used interchangeably, but they are far from the same.
Parole is a conditional release from prison where a parole officer will monitor how a recently released, former inmate is doing. There can be conditions of parole, such as no drug use or remaining in the state. In Minnesota, 2/3 of an individual’s sentence is served in prison, with the remaining 1/3 served on parole.
Probation is an alternative to prison time that is usually the result of a plea agreement between the defense and prosecutor. There are also terms of probation, such as remaining law abiding or keeping in contact with a probation officer. If the probation officer suspects a probation condition has been violated, the individual will be brought in for a probation violation hearing, where additional consequences may be imposed.
Probation can be supervised or unsupervised. Supervised probation is when the individual will have a probation officer monitoring their progress and checking in with them. Unsupervised probation, also known as probation to the court, is when the individual does not have a probation officer; rather, court administration will monitor the individual’s progress.
As with all areas of criminal law, there are many nuances when it comes to parole, probation, and probation violations. If you are facing criminal charges or worried that charges may be forthcoming, reach out to one of our attorneys to discuss your options.