Parole is the process that allows an individual who is convicted of a crime can serve only a part of their prison sentence and spend the rest of their sentence under court-ordered supervision. After the individual, referred to as a parolee, is released, they will be subject to monitored supervision as they reintegrate into the community.
The concept of parole is based on the concept that a criminal can prove that they have been rehabilitated and, therefore, may contribute to society when they are released.
There are generally specific period and terms associated with parole, including:
- Reporting to a parole officer;
- Not associating with ex-convicts;
- Staying within certain geographic limits;
- Carrying out community service tasks; and
- Not getting into legal trouble.
After being freed, an individual may rejoin society, often in a limited capacity and under the watchful eye of a parole officer. For less serious criminal offenses and for minor offenders, parole is often granted.
Typically, parole is granted for other offenders after at least ⅓ of the individual’s prison term is completed. In addition, the inmate must have significantly observed the rules of the facility in which they were incarcerated.
The most important factor is that the early release of the parolee cannot endanger the public or lessen the seriousness of the criminal offense. A parole order may be modified, amended or revised under the discretion of a parole board.
Modifications may include:
- Altering the terms or conditions of the individual’s parole;
- Extending or shortening the parole period;
- Adjusting the supervision provisions; or
- Other similar changes.
Although the parole board has the discretion to make these types of modifications, they do not have unlimited authority. The modifications have to be based on factual evidence that demonstrates the need for the changes.
Modifications must be made in accordance with the protections of due process. In some states, special parole may be granted.
In those states, such as Connecticut, the individual may need to request a special parole modification.
What Is Rescission of Parole?
Basically, a rescission of parole is a cancellation. A rescission of parole may happen if:
- Parole was improperly granted;
- Factual errors or mistakes lead to the issuance of parole; or
- The facts at the time of granting parole or after that time indicate that rescission is proper.
Any time that a rescission of parole is going to occur, it must be based on solid factual evidence. Taking away an individual’s parole has a major impact on the parolee.
Because of this, parole rescission cannot be based merely upon a suspicion or a whim. It is important to note that future parole orders that have not yet been put into effect may also be rescinded.
How Is Rescission of Parole Different from Revocation of Parole?
Parole authorities make a distinction between the rescission and revocation of parole. As noted above, rescission may arise because of errors that were made when granting parole.
In contrast, parole revocation typically occurs if the parolee has violated the conditions of their parole in some way, typically due to an illegal act or engaging in illegal conduct after being paroled. In other words, the main difference between these two concepts is that the parolee loses their right to the freedoms to which they were legitimately entitled.
With a rescission, the individual was never actually supposed to be granted parole and, therefore, the parole order is canceled.
What If My Parole Order Has Been Modified, Rescinded, or Revoked?
Parole authorities are permitted to reopen any parole decisions that are made for further consideration. This may occur if new information becomes available before the individual’s release from prison.
An additional hearing may be held even if the new information was in existence at the time the modification, rescission, or revocation of the order. It is up to the discretion of the parole board regarding which information to review.
If an individual on parole is charged with a parole violation, they are provided with an opportunity to have a final hearing before the Commission. At this hearing, the Commission will determine whether to continue or revoke the individual’s parole.
The only exception to this is if the parolee is convicted of a new offense. In those situations, parole is revoked without a hearing.
What Is a Probation Violation?
Criminal judges are permitted to place certain requirements on an individual who is on probation. In fact, the requirements of probation may include that the individual follow a certain set of rules and standards, which may include:
- Remaining within a certain geographical area or wearing an electronic tracking device, for example, an ankle monitor;
- Maintaining a certain curfew;
- Maintaining or attempting to find gainful employment;
- Performing specified hours of community service;
- Submitting to random drug screenings at the order of the court;
- Reporting to a probation officer daily or periodically; or
- Not committing any further crimes or associating with persons known to have committed crimes.
It is important to note that, if an individual does not follow the rules and conditions of their probation, their original criminal sentence may be reinstated by the court at the revocation hearing. This means that a violation of probation laws may result in the individual who originally received probation serving out their criminal sentence, for example, by going to jail.
Generally, a probate violation will be reported to the court by a probation officer that the individual on probation is required to report to. Then, if the individual has violated the terms of their probation, a revocation hearing may occur if the court decides to hold one.
What Is a Revocation Hearing?
A revocation hearing may refer to either a probation revocation hearing or a parole revocation hearing. Revocation hearings are hearings before a criminal judge where the judge will determine whether or not to revoke the individual’s probation or parole.
If their parole or probation is revoked, then the individual may face serious jail time. It is important to note that an individual is legally permitted to contest the revocation of their parole or probation in most cases.
If an individual chooses to contest their parole or probation, a contested revocation hearing will occur. At this hearing, the individual who is subject to parole or probation will deny the violations of their parole or probation and challenge the allegations.
At this hearing, the prosecutor will be required to prove by the standard of clear and convincing evidence that the individual did, in fact, violate the terms of their parole or probation. Then, if the violation is proven, the judge will hand down the sanctions or criminal sentence.
Do I Need to Speak to a Lawyer Regarding the Status of My Parole?
If you believe that your parole order has been wrongfully modified, rescinded, or revoked, it is important to consult with a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Losing your parole may have severe consequences on your livelihood, so it is essential to consult with a lawyer to ensure that your parole order is not subject to errors or mistakes.
Your attorney will also be able to determine your eligibility for parole if you have not yet been granted parole. In addition, your lawyer can help you petition to obtain parole if you are eligible.