parole violation | Definition

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

A parole violation occurs when a person who has been released from prison on parole fails to comply with the conditions of their parole.

Before delving into violations, let’s first understand what parole is. Parole is a term you often hear in the criminal justice system. It’s when a prisoner gets early release from prison, but they aren’t completely free yet. Instead, they must follow certain rules and conditions to remain outside of prison. This period of supervised release is known as parole.

For instance, a parolee might need to meet regularly with a parole officer, find a job, or avoid certain places or people. Parole helps transition prisoners back into society while still holding them accountable for their actions.

When Parole Turns into Parole Violation

Now, what happens if a parolee breaks these rules? After all, that’s when a parole violation occurs. It can be either a technical violation or a substantive violation.

A technical violation happens when a parolee doesn’t stick to the agreed-upon rules. For instance, they might miss a meeting with their parole officer or fail a drug test. On the other hand, a substantive violation involves the parolee committing a new crime while on parole.

Consequences of a Parole Violation

What happens if a parolee violates their parole? Well, the consequences can be serious. Firstly, the parole officer will report the violation. After that, a judge may decide to revoke parole, which could mean going back to prison. Alternatively, the judge might change the conditions of parole. For example, the parolee may need to attend counseling or drug treatment.

Both technical and substantive violations can lead to these outcomes. However, the response often depends on the severity of the violation and the parolee’s overall behavior.

Preventing Violations

Preventing parole violations is important both for the parolee and society. Above all, parolees must understand their conditions and follow them strictly. Additionally, they can seek help from support networks like family, friends, or community services. This support can make it easier to adjust to life outside of prison and reduce the risk of violations.

For society, preventing parole violations means fewer crimes and less strain on the criminal justice system. It also means more successful reintegration of former prisoners, which can lead to stronger, safer communities.

All Things Considered

In conclusion, a violation is a serious matter. It can result in severe consequences like returning to prison. Both parolees and society have a vested interest in preventing parole violations. By adhering to parole conditions and seeking support, parolees can transition smoothly back into the community.


Q: What are two possible types of parole violations that can be committed?

A: Parole violations can occur when a parolee breaks the conditions of their parole. Two common types are technical violations and substantive violations. Technical violations happen when parolees fail to abide by administrative rules like missing check-ins with a parole officer or violating curfew. Substantive violations, on the other hand, occur when parolees commit a new crime while on parole. Both types of violations can lead to serious consequences, including a return to prison.

Q: What violation causes revocation of parole and probation the most?

A: Probation violations, similar to parole violations, can lead to probation revocation. Two prevalent types are technical violations and substantive violations. Technical violations happen when probationers fail to comply with administrative rules, such as missing scheduled meetings with their probation officer or breaking curfew. Substantive violations occur when probationers commit a new crime during their probation period. Both types can result in severe outcomes, including reinstatement of the original prison sentence. However, statistics often show that technical violations tend to cause probation revocation more frequently.

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Last Modified: 07/12/2023

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