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Corrections - Parole

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Parole is the process of releasing inmates from prison to serve the remainder of their sentence in a community. The decision to parole an inmate is made by a parole board after considering information about inmates and their record during incarceration. Parolees are supervised by parole officers. Parole is often used to control prison overcrowding, to reward good behavior, and to help prisoners reenter their community with supervision. In 2002 out of a total estimated correctional population of 6,732,400, the number of adults on parole was 753,141. The 2002 rate of adults on parole in the United States was 350 for each 100,000 persons.

Parole boards generally hold parole release hearings at the prison. Prison officials participate in the interviews, and in many states the inmates and their relatives or friends may also play a role in the parole process. Most parole boards also allow a written statement from the victim. Information from police and any opposition to an inmate's release are also considered. Some parole boards make their decisions only from written reports. An inmate's personal information such as age, prior criminal record, prison record, and most importantly the amount of time already served are factors related to the board's decision.

The decision to parole an inmate is made by a parole board after considering information about an inmate and his or her record during incarceration. (AP/Wide World Photos)

After being paroled, offenders are assigned a parole officer who sets up the conditions for the parole agreement. Much like probation, parole requirements often include counseling or drug therapy programs, getting a job, restricted travel or changes of address, a ban on owning or possessing weapons. Failure to meet parole terms or further criminal activity will send the offender back to prison.

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