When a convicted criminal offender is released, he or she must often face a new set of guidelines and restrictions in the form of parole. This action occurs when a criminal offender is released under supervision prior to the expiration of his or her initial sentence. Since parole is in some respects a test to ascertain the offender’s fitness to reenter society, violation of parole restrictions is a serious matter. Penalties for parole violation may vary by region, but typically include fines, community service, or mandatory rehabilitation programs in lesser cases. Serious violators should likely expect some additional jail time, if not a revocation of the parole itself.
Types of parole violation are dependent on the initial conditions of the parole. Perhaps the most common violation is the absence of the offender at scheduled meetings with a supervising parole agent assigned to his or her case. Other common conditions of parole include keeping the parole supervisor apprised of address or employment changes, keeping away from other convicted felons, paying a supervisory fee, and avoiding any new arrests. Certain crimes may carry specific conditions as well. For example, a child sex offender may be required to remain a certain distance from areas numerous children occupy or a drug offender may undergo mandatory drug testing.
In many cases, the first step in addressing a parole violation involves the obtainment of a warrant for the violator’s arrest. After the violator is in custody, a hearing may be called before a government-appointed board to allow the offender to defend his or her position and answer the charges. Lawyers, evidence, and witnesses may all be utilized. If the board determines a suspected parole violation has occurred, a second hearing may be scheduled where the board will determine by a vote if parole should be taken away, or revoked. If the offender fails to appear at either hearing, however, parole may be summarily revoked.
Although revocation of parole is the most serious consequence of a parole violation, lesser penalties may be issued based on the nature of the violation and the general history of the offender. Fines and community service represent two common alternatives to jail time. Some regions also institute rehabilitation programs or weeks-long boot camps to curtail parole violations. If a parole board deems a violation serious enough, jail time will likely be issued in the form of either a short sentence followed by resumption of probation or a reinstitution of the original sentence. Some violations may even garner the offender lifetime parole supervision.