What You Don’t Know About Life on Parole

Published: Aug 25, 2017, by admin in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog

Although you may have heard the term parole many times, you may not have a full understanding of the process of parole and what life on parole means to persons who are assigned this punishment.

Are you currently on parole or headed toward a parole board’s decision about your future? Chicago criminal defense lawyer Michael O’Meara has more than two decades of experience serving the criminal justice system. He is ready to be your strong advocate, fighting in a rigorous manner to help you secure your freedom.

Call O’Meara Law LLC today at 312-909-0706 or send us an email to request a free case evaluation.

Parole Defined

Parole is granted to a prison inmate before they have completed their prison sentencing requirements. It is offered on the basis that the individual will follow the conditions set forth by the parole board. In essence, this equates to the inmate finishing out their sentence outside of the confines of prison, in the community, as they continue to adhere to the conditions, and stay free from trouble.

Conditions for Parole

Three major conditions for the granting of parole to an inmate are as follows:

  1. The release of the inmate will not place the public in danger.

  2. The inmate’s release from prison will not minimize the gravity of their offense – in other words, an appropriate mandatory minimum sentence will have been served first.

  3. The inmate has followed all prison rules and policies during the time of their incarceration. They have not attacked other inmates, attempted to escape, etc.

Conditions and Concerns Affecting Life on Parole

The conditions of parole can vary widely from one state to another and on a case-by-case basis. Many states are attempting to reduce their prison populations, which in turn tends to increase the number of parolees. With more than 850,000 people across the nation on parole, the concern has risen among those who favor parole as opposed to more punitive incarceration that the average parolee may find existing parole rules – some covering quite technical violations – too difficult to follow.

Another concern among many is that there seems to be a lack of consistency in the parole system – one reason being that enormous discretion is afforded to parole agents on how to deal with parolees. In many cases, it seems that no two parole officers approach their oversight of parolees and enforcement of parole violations in the same manner. This can make life on parole for an individual somewhat uncertain and possibly more difficult than necessary.

Weaknesses in the Parole System

Hundreds of thousands of convicted felons are released each year from prisons across the United States and begin the parole process. However, the system for managing these individuals in the various states, including Illinois, has its weaknesses.

Prisons across the country are often overcrowded, forcing the early release of many convicts in order to meet population and budget constraints. As an ex-prisoner returns into civilian life under the constraints of parole, often times the results can be less than adequate.

Although one of the major goals of pairing ex-inmates with parole officers is to help them gain access to housing, employment opportunities, and other services, many individuals experiencing life on parole do not gain access to the resources they need to help them avoid re-incarceration. Many end up homeless. Others have addictions, physical illnesses, and mental diseases that go untreated. Statistics indicate that more than 60 percent of parolees return to prison within a period of three years.

Life on parole for many can fail to improve or even become worse when the system itself as implemented by parole officers fails to produce enough consistent positive results. The high rate of recidivism among parolees attests to the fact that the supervisory role of parole officers is serving in large part to catch parole infractions committed by parolees which brings about their swift return to incarceration, but not facilitating their reestablishment into society.

In large part parole, as it exists in many forms now, is failing to markedly change the behavior of many of its clients. In addition, the return of so many to prison after a period of parole contributes to the problem of prison overcrowding that parole is meant to mitigate.

Get Legal Help from an Experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of violating your parole terms, you need experienced representation in order to defend your rights and interests. Attorney Michael O’Meara has extensive experience on both the prosecutorial and defense sides of the justice system. He knows how to skillfully advocate on your behalf to achieve the best possible results in your case.

Call attorney O’Meara today at 312-909-0706 to set up a free, no obligation consultation.