It is hard to disagree that prison overcrowding remains a significant issue, and the government has to spend a considerable amount of money on keeping offenders in jail. However, not punishing them for their crimes is also not a solution. That is why there are special community corrections programs that generally include intermediate sanctions, parole, and probation (“Criminal Justice | Appendix A: The Constitution of the United States,” 2018). These programs are the forms of non-prison sanctions that help offenders live in the community instead of staying in jail. The purpose of this paper is to explain how these community corrections address minimizing risk to public safety and discuss whether the community helps society and the offender.
Parole is a kind of convicted criminals’ imprisonment and releasing them before the end of their sentences. It aims at helping offenders reintegrate into society when they are ready for that and are not dangerous for other people (“Criminal Justice | Section 6.5: Probation, Parole, and the Law,” 2018). In other words, the parole’s essence is to release offenders on the condition that parolees follow particular rules after being released and during the balance of the sentence. Generally, parolees are not allowed to have correspondence or associations with specific categories of undesirable people and use alcohol, drugs, and other intoxicants. Moreover, they must ask their parole officers if they may be engaged in certain activities like traveling outside the community, operating a motor vehicle, marrying, changing housing arrangements or employment. This is the way the parole program minimizes any risk to public safety.
There are certain similarities between probation and parole, but these programs still vary. The main difference between them is that “probationers are sentenced to community sanctions rather than a prison sentence” (“Criminal Justice | Section 6.4: Parole, Probation, and Community Sanctions,” 2018, para. 7). In other words, parolees have already served some prison time, but probationers have not. There are several levels of supervision, and the most common distinction between them is whether it is active or inactive. On active supervision, probationers must report in with their officers at regular intervals. If only minor offenses were committed, or if much of a lengthy probation sentence was competed by serious offenders without problems, probationers may be placed on inactive supervision. Supervision helps to control the offenders and their new way of life. Whether it is active or not, it provides safety to the society and great support to the probationers, who are allowed to start a new life.
It is evident that community corrections programs help both the society and the offender. First of all, as mentioned above, parolees and probationers are granted a unique chance of becoming free and correcting their mistakes. Even though most of their actions are still under control, they are able to get married, start a family, get a real job, and have a real life outside of prison’s walls. Getting probation or parole is the opportunity of a lifetime that lets a great number of offenders fix their lives. As for society, these programs help to reduce the money spent on people in prison or jail. Therefore, people’s taxes can improve society’s life instead of going to the maintenance of criminals.
To draw a conclusion, one may say that community corrections programs are indeed the right solution to reduce the money spent on prisons, minimize risk to public safety, and give offenders another chance to live a proper life. Despite the fact that most people in prison are guilty of various crimes, they are worthy of forgiveness and freedom. Moreover, it is usually not dangerous for other people, so community corrections programs can be considered necessary and successful.
Criminal Justice | Appendix A: The Constitution of the United States. (2018). DocMcKee. Web.
Criminal Justice | Section 6.4: Parole, Probation, and Community Sanctions. (2018). DocMcKee. Web.
Criminal Justice | Section 6.5: Probation, Parole, and the Law. (2018). DocMcKee. Web.