Parole and Probation Research Essay

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The criminal justice system in the United States is in charge of millions of individuals. The majority are detained in prisons operated by the federal, state, and municipal governments. The rest are in the general public and either on probation or release. Although they are frequently compared, probation and release are two different things. It is possible to describe probation as a possible sentence for judges. Convicted criminals who are on probation serve the society, but under court-mandated restrictions. It typically takes place in the community and is typically an option to imprisonment. The terms of probation may be revoked, monitored, resentenced, or altered by the courts. Parole, on the other hand, is the early release of an offender before the lapse of the sentence period on condition of good behavior and service to the community. The paroling board is entrusted with handling all issues pertaining to early release. The paper explores the conditions under which parole or probation is granted.

Probation and parole caseloads have various administrative responsibilities as that are almost similar for all states in the United States. A caseload can be described as number of offenders under parole or probation that are supervised by a single officer. Parole is aimed at providing direction to an offender by ensuring that such a person is working and is responsible (Matz Conley& Johanneson, 2017). Hence, probation and parole officers carry out several responsibilities to ensure that probation and parole is successful. Conducting counseling sessions on cases assigned to them according to the required techniques in order to identify the problems of the offender is one of their major administrative duties (Seiter & West, 2003). Once they identify the problems a probationer has, they develop constructive techniques to address them. In a bid to admit their probationers, the parole and probation officers have a duty to get into contact with both private and public community agencies. Furthermore, they also have the responsibility of maintaining a good relationship with such agencies to facilitate exchange of information on the status of different probationers and parolees (Matz Conley& Johanneson, 2017). The officers are expected to develop a relationship with parolees and probationers so as to meet the requirements of the parole board and the court of law. The officers are also in charge of assisting the offenders to secure employment and identify a network of family and friends.

The probation and parole caseloads are classified based on the risk that the offender poses to the community and the appropriate supervision required. Classification takes different forms when it comes to probation and parole caseloads. The first form of classification is as; initial, reclassification and prelease classification. There are also three basic supervision levels. These include regular, minimum and intensive supervision. Offenders whose risk score is high are accorded a higher level of supervision (Matz Conley& Johanneson, 2017). Intensive supervision is the highest level. Offenders in this category are considered to have a high risk of committing a crime and are usually put in small caseloads. Such offenders are expected to report to their supervisors at least once a week. Their supervisors also visit them in their residences and places of work to check on their progress regularly. Offenders whose risk to the community is considered as minimal are put in the category of minimum supervision. The caseload of officers supervising minimum offenders are usually high as compared to those of intensive offenders. Offenders in this community are usually minor offenders and are not always given close supervision. Regular supervision is assigned to offenders who do not pose an immediate threat to the community (Matz Conley& Johanneson, 2017). Such offenders are usually required to meet the requirements of their programs, keep jobs and meet with their supervisors once a month.

The parole board is an independent body and determines whether or not an offender should be released to the community after serving a fraction of their sentence. Some of the factors that the board considers before making a decision as to whether an offender can be released include institutional record, criminal history, the time served in prison, support of community initiatives and nature of the offense among others (Matz Conley& Johanneson, 2017). The court determines whether or not probation can be granted. The Board of Parole (BOP), on the other hand, determines whether parole can be granted to an offender. The jurisdictions of these two community supervisions techniques are another example of their differences. When offenders appear before a court of law and are convicted, they are usually given jail time or may be released on probation (Seiter & West, 2003). Also, some become eligible for parole that is granted by the BOP. According to the Ohio state, offenders are expected to have a job, meet certain conditions and reside in a location where they can easily be supervised (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, 2017). The offender is expected to maintain contact and take instructions from the parole or probation officer assigned to him or her.

The parole board of Ohio is expected to be fully constituted in order to grant paroles. The State’s parole board consists of 11 members and the chairman. Members of the board are appointed by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction based on their educational background and experience in correctional duties (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, 2017). Experiences in advocating for offenders’ rights, prosecution of offenders, probation or parole, social work or law enforcement are suitable for one to be a member. All members sitting on the board have a two six-year term with the exception of the victim representative and the chairman. An individual, who is often a member of the victim’s family or a representative for an organization agitating for human rights is appointed by the director (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, 2017). The major duties of the parole board are to conduct hearings related to parole and provides recommendations to the governor for inmates who should be pardoned.

Nowadays, the role of the parole and probation officers go beyond their administrative duties have increased particularly in relation to sex offenses. Most offenders are usually unstable and parole officers often have to use specialized techniques to ensure they meet the conditions of the parole (Matz Conley& Johanneson, 2017). The have to form partnerships with the community by participating in their offenses awareness and violence prevention programs together with the offender. Furthermore, parole officers work in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies to report the progress made in the community with regards to parole (Seiter & West, 2003). Also, parole and probation officers have the responsibility of educating neighborhoods, church communities, the business community and schools on the risk factors of different offenders and how they can prevent themselves from them (Matz Conley& Johanneson, 2017). Parole officers also have the responsibility of meeting the families of the offenders and teaching them about the nature of crime committed by the offender and ways in which he/she can be corrected and avoid relapse (Seiter & West, 2003). They also have a role of training different advocates against various crimes on the best ways to identify the likelihood of such incidences occurring as well as develop a prevention plan that protects victims from future abuse (Seiter & West, 2003). Also, the officers are required to help victims develop skills such as problem solving, communication and self-esteem that helps the perpetrator to be accepted back in the community and add value to family members.

In conclusion, probation and parole officers play an important role in the integration of an offender back into the community. They act as their counselors, teachers and supervisors. Through engaging in activities that add value to the society, offenders gain skills and knowledge that help them build their lives away from crime. Also, the importance of the community in helping offenders cannot be overlooked. The probation and parole officers constantly engage with different stakeholders in the community that provides important information on the best strategies that can be used to help offenders. As a result, the community must be sensitized on various forms of crime and how they can prevent themselves from the perpetrators of such evils. Importantly, granting of probation and parole to offenders is an important responsibility in the criminal justice system. It not only frees up space in prisons but also dignifies those who have been incarcerated. Furthermore, those who have shown character and good behavior are rewarded through probation and parole. However, the criminal justice system needs to develop a better framework to conduct probation and parole because the caseloads keep increasing.


Matz, A. K., Conley, T. B., & Johanneson, N. (2017). What do supervision officers do? Adult probation/parole officer workloads in a rural Western state. Journal of Crime and Justice, 1-16.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction. (2017) (1st ed.). Retrieved from

Seiter, R. P., & West, A. D. (2003). Supervision styles in probation and parole: An analysis of activities. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 38(2), 57-75.

July 15, 2023


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