parole revocation | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Corrections

Parole revocation is the process of sending an offender back to prison for violating the conditions of parole.

Parole revocation is a legal process by which a parolee may be returned to prison for violating the terms and conditions of their parole. Parole is a conditional release from prison that allows an individual to serve the remainder of their sentence in the community under the supervision of a parole officer. As part of their release, parolees are required to abide by certain conditions, such as reporting to their parole officer, attending counseling or treatment programs, and refraining from criminal activity.

If a parolee violates the terms and conditions of their parole, they may be subject to revocation proceedings. Revocation proceedings can be initiated by the parole officer or by the parole board and may result in the parolee being returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence.

The Parole Revocation Process

The revocation process typically involves a hearing before a parole board or administrative hearing officer. At the hearing, evidence of the parole violation is presented, and the parolee has the opportunity to respond and present evidence in their defense. The parole board or hearing officer will then make a determination as to whether the parolee has violated the conditions of their parole and, if so, what the appropriate sanctions should be.

Most Important Factors in Parole Decisions

  1. Prison Conduct: An offender’s in-prison behavior is scrutinized by parole authorities. Instances of recurring infractions or violent behavior could negatively impact their chances, whereas proactive involvement in rehabilitation can be favorable.
  2. Original Crime Severity: The gravity and nature of the offender’s crime are pivotal. More severe or violent crimes may necessitate longer prison terms prior to parole eligibility.
  3. Demonstration of Rehabilitation and Remorse: Active participation in prison programs, expression of remorse, and evidence of personal transformation can greatly enhance an inmate’s prospects for parole.
  4. Reoffending Risk Assessment: The parole board assesses the potential public safety risk the offender might pose. Factors such as previous criminal history, psychological evaluations, and post-release support plans contribute to this assessment.

Consequences of Parole Revocation

The consequences of parole revocation can be significant. Parolees who are found to have violated the conditions of their parole may be subject to a range of sanctions, from a warning or a modification of their parole conditions to the revocation of their parole and a return to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence. In some cases, parolees may be subject to additional criminal charges and penalties for violating the terms of their parole.

The process of parole revocation is an important tool for ensuring that individuals released on parole comply with the conditions of their release and do not pose a threat to public safety. By providing a mechanism for revoking parole in cases where the individual has violated the terms of their release, the criminal justice system can help to protect public safety and deter future criminal behavior.

Parole Revocation and Due Process

However, it is also important to ensure that the revocation process is fair and impartial and that parolees are provided with due process protections. This includes the right to notice the charges against them, the right to be represented by counsel, and the right to a fair and impartial hearing. By providing these procedural protections, the criminal justice system can help to ensure that the revocation process is fair and just and that parolees are not unfairly punished or returned to prison without cause.

What is the Most Common Reason for Revocation of Parole?

Parole revocation often results from technical violations, the most common reason for such reversals. These are breaches of the specific conditions set for the parolee, which don’t necessarily involve committing new criminal offenses. Common examples include failing drug or alcohol tests, missing appointments with parole officers, or not adhering to set curfews or travel restrictions. These non-compliance instances can signal potential risk factors and often lead to a return to incarceration. However, the severity and frequency of these violations are considered when deciding on revocation. Apart from technical violations, committing new crimes while on parole is another, albeit less common, reason for parole revocation. In such cases, the parolee would face legal proceedings for the new crime in addition to the parole violation, often leading to compounded penalties. The intention behind these strict terms is to maintain public safety while allowing the parolee an opportunity for social reintegration.

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Last Modified: 07/12/2023

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