Not all punishments send you behind bars, but it may still seem confusing. Most people can’t tell you what’s the difference between parole and probation.

Not knowing makes the situation that much scarier, but Gibson Bail Bonds is here to explain things more clearly.

Some punishments attempt to keep you out of trouble, while others feel more restrictive. In the end, getting granted parole or probation is a privilege and not a right.

Whatever sentencing you receive has its own unique requirements and end goals. Both aim to reform inmates so they can reintegrate into society.


What is Parole?

Not every crime committed keeps prisoners incarcerated for their entire sentence. Parole is still a confusing topic for many new to their conviction. If an inmate is eligible for parole, they meet with a board first. It could take a while for another meeting if they are not convinced.

Once approved for parole, the inmate is released and reintegrated into society. Common restrictions of getting a parole sentencing can include such requirements as:

  • Halfway HousesGibson Bail Bonds What's the Difference Between Parole and Probation
  • Fine Payments
  • Specified Restrictions
  • Parole Officer Check-Ins
  • Mandatory Parole
  • Required Counselling
  • Refrain from Substances
  • Maintain Employment
  • Mandatory Recovery Meetings
  • Unannounced Officer Visits
  • Geological Boundaries
  • And others

Getting granted parole is not the same as a full release from prison. So messing up this second chance can also quickly send you back behind bars.


What is Probation?

While parole is a continuation of a sentencing, probation is in lieu of it. Because they are trading jail time for freedom, it’s intended for lower-level offenses.

Some inmates receive stricter sentences than others, however, all have mandated requirements. You may be ordered to stay away from alcohol, friends, even certain family members.

Since you’re allowed to reintegrate, the courts keep their eye on you. Probation is assigned to inmates will include such items as:

  • Required Curfews
  • Rehab Programs
  • Frequent Urinalysis Testing
  • Required Fines
  • Court Fees
  • Paid Restitution
  • Probation Officer
  • Final Sentencing
  • Required Community Service
  • Refrain from Contact
  • Electronic Monitors
  • House Arrest
  • And other requirements

Even though you aren’t in a cell, you are still paying off your sentence. Probation should be taken as seriously as having cellmates, especially if served at home.


What’s the Main Difference Between Parole and Probation?

In the end, you may still ask what’s the difference between parole and probation? In short, parole is a change to an inmate’s sentencing, while probation replaces it.

Many criminals, especially of violent crimes, will not have either offered to them. Many times lighter offenses are ideal as it keeps more inmates from crowding prisons.

As a result, it’s a win-win for both you and the court system. Parole or probation as a second chance is an option for many first-time offenders.

These alternatives seek to reform and control inmates, leading them away from crime. Some common types of probation and parole for an inmate’s release are:

  • Unsupervised Probation
  • Supervised Probation
  • Shock Probation
  • Crime-Specific Probation
  • Adult Parole
  • Discretionary Parole
  • Inmate Parole
  • Interstate Parole
  • And others

Which is Better: Getting Parole or Probation?

Now that you know the difference between parole and probation, which is best? 

Ideally, probation would feel like the preferred punishment as you avoid going to prison. However, an early release back to the real world isn’t the worst thing. Some inmates find it more challenging to reintegrate, doing better behind bars. Because of this, you should always consult with a legal professional before pursuing your options.

In the end, the court system will decide if you participate in either one. Until then, you will remain behind bars until your sentencing is over.

If you have been arrested recently, we may be able to help you be released sooner. Contact Gibson Bail Bonds 24-hours a day for affordable bail bond services with experienced agents.