What to Expect When You Are Granted Parole
It is a freeing feeling knowing after your time in prison, your good behavior has given you the opportunity for parole, but that doesn’t mean your life automatically goes back to normal. Life after you are granted parole in Pennsylvania can be tricky and frustrating at times, but it may be easier to navigate if you understand what to suspect once you settle back into life outside of prison.
What Is Parole vs. Probation?
Parole is different than probation in that you are granted parole before the end of your prison term, but after the minimum requirement of your sentence has been met. Probation is an alternative to jail or prison time, but you are expected to adhere to certain requirements in order to dismiss the charges against you.
Parole is conditional based on your behavior during your imprisonment. Pennsylvania law sees parole as a privilege, not a right, and is also contingent on your behavior following your release. Offenders eligible for parole will be interviewed about 3-4 months before their potential release date and the parole board will consider a number of factors, including:
- The nature and severity of your crime
- You general background and character
- Your mental and physical competency
- Whether you have a history of violence
- Input from your family and loved ones
- Recommendations from your warden or superintendent
What Are The Terms of My Parole?
Adjusting to life during parole can be frustrating because you are held to a higher standard than the rest of society. You will serve your parole out in your community rather than in jail, and you will be supervised by a parole board and other county law enforcement officials. Before you are released on parole in Pennsylvania, you must:
- Test negative for all illegal drugs
- Submit a DNA sample, if requested
- Pay restitution for all victims
- Complete a Victim Impact Education program, if you are a violent offender
- Develop a reentry plan, including where you will live and work
Once you are out on parole, you must follow all of the conditions that are set by your parole board. These are tailored to each offenders needs, but general requirements include:
- Meeting with your parole officer
- Living in your approved residence
- Paying court costs
- Abiding all societal laws
Your parole agent wants you to re-acclimate successfully and will support you through job training, treatment for addiction or mental illness, and any other life skills development you will need.
What Happens If I Violate the Terms of My Parole?
This depends on whether you are a technical parole violator, a convicted parole violator, or even both. You are considered a technical parole violator if you infringe on any conditions of your parole. You may have to pay a fine, be sent to a treatment center, or placed in a center with other parole violators for months at a time. If the infraction was severe enough, even sent back to jail or prison. In order to be considered a convicted parole violator, you must be convicted of another crime while on parole. These offenders are sent back to prison.
In any circumstance, offenders are entitled to a parole violation hearing before a punishment is handed down. These aren’t as strict as criminal trials, as it must be proven it is more likely than not that you violated the conditions of your parole (otherwise known as a preponderance of the evidence).
How An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you are eligible for parole, contact Scranton-based Ernest D. Preate, Jr. Esquire. He has worked with many people up for parole and will be able to answer any concerns you may have. Call the Scranton office at 570-507-7835 or contact the office online to set up a consultation today.