Parole Conditions and
Parole conditions determine the amount of
freedom versus restriction a parolee has.
The goals are accomplished by enforcing
conditions and providing services that assist in
As with probation, parole revocation occurs if
the parolee violates the conditions of parole.
on Getting Out
A California study of parolee perspectives found
the reentry process a negative experience for
about 1/2 of all parolees.
An Iowa study of the transition from prison to a
halfway house and then to parole found
inadequate preparation for release that required
the payment of rent, seeking employment, and
sustaining a job.
The Field Parole Officer
Parole officers manage caseloads of 60-75
parolees (25-50 for specialized caseloads) and
perform the following functions:
Carry out and enforce the conditions of parole
Make referrals to treatment programs
Conduct investigations and report violations
Provide appropriate information to victims
Share information with law enforcement
The Officer’s Perspective
Parole officers generally view parole as more of
an art than a science.
Parole officers believe the most important
features of a reentry program are:
Steady employment - the key element
Remaining drug free
Positive family and peer social support
Structure in daily activities
Conditions of Parole
Standard conditions are mandatory for all
parolees in a jurisdiction.
Special conditions are tailored to fit the needs
of individual offenders.
Critics of excessive conditions argue that they
often create unrealistic expectations and are
destined to result in failure.
An offender on parole does not lose all
However, as with probationers, the rights
enjoyed are diminished, meaning that they are
not as highly protected by the courts as similar
rights enjoyed by nonoffenders.
Even preferred rights such as First Amendment
rights can be limited if an offender is on parole or
The Federal Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
held a condition valid which prohibited a parolee
from harassing, intimidating, or picketing in front of
any gynecological or abortion family planning
As a condition of parole, parolees must allow
parole officers to search their car or place of
residence without a search warrant.
This condition has been upheld for parole
revocation hearings but not for a new criminal
The exclusionary rule does not apply to parole
or probation revocation hearings.
Legal Issues in Parole Conditions
for Sex Offenders
Boling v. Romer (1996) held that the condition
requiring a parolee to submit DNA samples did not
violate Fourth or Fifth Amendment protections.
Parole is discretionary and can be conditional
Involvement in a treatment program for sex offenders
requires that offenders admit their guilt. If the crime is
denied, then the offender will not be allowed to
participate in treatment.
The parole violation process begins when the
parole officer discovers a potential violation.
Parole jurisdictions use both warrants and
citations in the revocation process.
A 2 stage process is not required in parole
revocations, and a conviction for a new offense
constitutes sufficient evidence for revocation.
In their 2005 study, Hoffman and Beck found
that parole violators were 95% male, over ½
were African-American, and most were
between 25-39 years of age.
The most serious offense resulting in revocation
was a violent crime (34%), property crime
(33%), drug crime (23%) and a public order
Most rearrests of parolees occur within the first 6
months of release and within 3 years, 2/3 are
If a parolee is ultimately revoked, in most cases, the
revocation period is not long enough to justify a
return to prison. Instead, revoked parolees remain in
the community with more restrictions, or they remain
in the county jail for the rest of their original
Underlying Causes of Revocation
With more emphasis placed on control and
punishment, the threshold level is lowered for what
behavior is tolerated before a revocation occurs.
An increase in the average number of offenders that
each parole officer has to supervise means offenders
have less face-to-face contact.
There are more parole conditions, and thus more
ways to violate.
A parole absconder is an offender who,
without prior permission, escapes or flees the
jurisdiction of supervision.
The two categories of absconders are:
Type I Absconders: Benign
Type II Absconders: Menace to Society
Predicting Absconding Behavior –
Predictive variables include:
Juvenile and adult felony convictions
Arrests within 5 years of the current crime
Previous adult incarcerations
Previous probation or parole revocations
In the California Study, the top 2 variables were
unstable living arrangements and frequent
Parole has been widely criticized as a
“revolving door” to prison that reduces the
impact of criminal sentences and threatens
Recidivism, as a measure of parole success,
How recidivism is defined
The duration of time of the study
The size of the sample
Predicting Parole Outcomes
The variables shown to predict parole outcome
Number of prior arrests
Male parolees return to prison at higher rates than
The lower the number of previous arrests, the greater
the likelihood or parole success.
Supervision versus no supervision
While studies vary in conclusion, success is increased
when paired with treatment and reentry assistance.