The conditional release of a person convicted of a crime prior to the expiration of that person's term of imprisonment, subject to both the supervision of the correctional authorities during the remainder of the term and a resumption of the imprisonment upon violation of the conditions imposed.
Parole is the early supervised release of a prison inmate. It is usually regulated by statutes, and these provisions vary from state to state. Parole boards created by statute possess the authority to release prisoners from incarceration. Parolees have no constitutional right to representation in parole hearings and parole revocation hearings, but many states provide representation to impoverished inmates and parolees in such hearings.
Parole was first used in the United States in New York in 1876. By the turn of the century, parole was prevalent in the states. In 1910 Congress established the U.S. Parole Commission and gave it the responsibility of evaluating and setting the release dates for federal prisoners.
Parole is used for several reasons. It is less expensive to supervise a parolee than to incarcerate a prisoner. A person on parole has an opportunity to contribute to society. At the same time, society still receives some protection because the parolee is supervised and can be revoked for the most minor of transgressions. Parole is also a method of rehabilitation, because it gives convicts supervision and guidance during their reentry into society.
Although parole laws vary from state to state, there are some common practices. In many states, the governor is charged with appointing a parole board. The duties of the board are to study the case histories of persons eligible for parole, deliberate on the record, conduct hearings, grant parole, craft the conditions for parole, issue warrants for persons charged with violation of parole, conduct revocation hearings, and grant final discharge to parolees.
States may charge parolees a small monthly fee to offset the costs of supervision. For example, in Kentucky, a person on parole for a felony must pay $10 per month while under active supervision, but no more than a total of $2,500; for a misdemeanor parole, the fee is not less than $10 per month and no more than $500 in all. Failure to pay these fees, without a good reason for the failure, may result in revocation of the
parole, but revocation may not be based on failure to pay a...