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A parole date can mean one of a few things, depending on how the phrase is used. For example, a parole date can be the date on which a prisoner receives parole. This may be the most frequent use of the term. It can, however, also be used to indicate the date on which a person will be eligible for parole, which may also be termed the projected parole date. Sometimes it may even be used to indicate the date on which a prisoner has a parole hearing.
When a criminal is given a prison sentence, he may receive a sentence that is a range of years rather than a set sentence for a fixed number of years. For example, a judge may give a convict a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. This means that the convict must spend a minimum of five years in prison, and he may spend a maximum of 10 years paying for his crime. He may be eligible for early, supervised release after serving his minimum sentence of five years, however. If the prisoner is granted early release, he is said to receive parole.
Often, the phrase parole date is used when discussing the date on which a prisoner could be eligible for parole or could receive a parole or the date on which the decision is made to grant parole. This is usually not the date on which the prisoner actually leaves prison, however. Instead, a prisoner usually has to go before a parole board for a hearing to decide whether or not he should be granted early, supervised release. The prisoner and his loved ones may be allowed to make a case for the prisoner's parole at this time. The victim and other parties may be allowed to argue against the prisoner’s release, and the prisoner’s behavior while in prison as well as his plans for the future may be considered as well.
Sometimes a prisoner's parole date is the date on which a prisoner leaves prison. His release may actually occur quite a while after the decision is made to grant parole. The process may differ from place to place, and some prisoners may wait months before they are released from prison. For example, in some jurisdictions, parole decisions may be subject to the approval or denial of a higher authority. In some places, the governor may deny a prisoner's release, even after a parole board has approved it.
@EdRick - I love that movie, too. I wonder if that's an accurate depiction of what a parole hearing is like. I think sometimes there are other witness at a hearing, but the character at that point is so elderly, there may not be anyone left "on the outside" who remembers him!
Now, in the movie, they set the prisoners up after parole with a job and a room. Often, now, I think that's not the case. It can be really hard for people on parole to find a decent job, or any job. How can they make their way back into society without a job?
It seems like in some ways, we haven't come that far from "Les Miserables" and Jean Valjean, the convict who was scorned everywhere he went. I even read about a female ex-con who get a job at a major hair chain. She was the subject of a newspaper article, and the paper contacted their corporate office to get permission to photograph her at work.
The offender was immediately fired, even though her work had been entirely satisfactory. Apparently, the chain had a policy against hiring people with her sort of criminal background. Now what's she supposed to do?
Does anyone else remember the parole scenes from The Shawshank Redemption? First, the old librarian is paroled and he hangs himself because he can't make it on the outside.
Then several times, you see Morgan Freeman go before the parole board (I get the impression it's the same time every year) and give his little spiel. Then one year, he doesn't do it. He just speaks from the heart, and rather disrespectfully. And that's the year he's paroled!
You get the impression that maybe they were never actually listening, and were just waiting until a certain date or until he was a certain age. (Quite old, in fact.)