If a criminal defendant has been sentenced to imprisonment, the concept of parole may apply at some point of time during the term of imprisonment. After having served the minimum term of the sentence, the defendant may qualify for parole. Credits for good behavior in the prison may also enable a defendant to qualify for parole. However, if the nature of the crime is severe, or the defendant is a habitual offender, parole may not apply.
Factors that Determine Parole
Every criminal defendant should understand that parole is not a right under the criminal law, but only a privilege. A number of prisoners may be refused parole when they first apply. The parole board typically expects that a prisoner concede responsibility for his or her crime. The board also expects that a prisoner should avail the appropriate prison programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, GED programs, and vocational training. The general conduct of the prisoner during incarceration will be taken into account while deciding on parole.
Other factors such as the mental and physical health of the prisoner, the amount of time served already and the age of the prisoner may also influence the decision on parole. However, the most significant factor that the parole board is likely to evaluate is what the chances are that the prisoner will commit a criminal offense once again. Parole boards try to ensure the safety of the society at large by not releasing prisoners who are likely to re-offend. Sex offenders and other dangerous offenders are least likely to be granted parole.
Process of Parole
When a prisoner receives parole, the release from prison may not occur directly. In many cases, the prisoner’s re-entry into the community may take place in stages. As a first step, the release date grows nearer the prisoner may be shifted to a less secure prison facility. If the prisoner does not abuse the privileges granted at the less secure facility, he or she may be deemed fit for release into the community.
Prisoners at a less secure facility may at times be permitted to work outside the prison as part of a state program or even through private employers. Sometimes a well-behaved prisoner may qualify for work at a residential facility. He or she may also be provided with a day or weekend pass that offers freedom to spend time as desired. Once the term at the residential facility is completed successfully, the prisoner may be paroled into the community.
Restrictions During Parole
During parole, the prisoner is typically required to move about only with the prior permission of the parole officer. In some cases, the parolee’s movements are monitored with the help of electronic tracking devices. The law typically restricts parolees from becoming involved with known criminals. Parolees with a history of alcohol or drug abuse may be subjected to periodic testing.
The William Moore Law Firm is a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense law firm offering decades of experienced legal representation and knowledge that is aggressive and skilled in the art of criminal defense. Contact William Moore Criminal Defense for immediate legal answers and available representation in Broward County.