Probation and Parole: Comparative Analysis

Probation is a type of penalty imposed by a court of law in which a criminal perpetrator, rather than being imprisoned, is allowed to stay in the community. It is done on the demand that they demonstrate good ethical and legal behavior while under the correctional supervision of probation officers (Abadinsky, 2015). On the other hand, parole is the discharge of a criminal after completing a part of their sentence to spend the remainder of their imprisonment in society (Abadinsky, 2015). It is done under particular conditions while maintaining ethical and legal behavior.

The origins of probation can be dated back to Middle Ages English criminal law. Children and adults alike were subjected to harsh punishments for acts that were not usually serious. Flogging, branding, execution, and mutilation were all common punishments. The origin of parole is traced back to the mid-nineteenth century. During the mid-nineteenth era, the majority of offenders received flat or definite jail sentences. For a particular crime, an offender receives a specific length of time from serving in jail under this sort of punishment.

Both parole and probation have the same goal in mind: to prevent criminals from breaching the law. As a result, both of them are criminal law punishments with a considerable rehabilitative component (Abadinsky, 2015). However, each of them has a secondary goal of protecting society as defined by various criminal law agencies (Abadinsky, 2015). Regardless, both probation and parole are beneficial since they minimize jail overcrowding. As a result, they lower jail management costs while also rewarding criminals ready to work for it. When properly administered, probation and parole can also help reduce recidivism (Worth, 2017).

As a result, recidivism can lower crime rates and improve residents’ safety in society. However, probation has the unintended consequence of allowing criminals to become serial offenders sooner than they would if they were imprisoned. On the other hand, parole has been attacked for allowing offenders to live freely when they should be in prison.


Abadinsky, H. (2015). Probation and parole: Theory and practice. Boston: Pearson.

Worth, R. (2017). Probation and parole. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.

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