Should parole release be abolished? Why or why not?

Topics: Prison, Crime, Parole Pages: 8 (2546 words) Published: September 25, 2003
Well lets start by learning what parole is and how it came about. What is Parole?

Parole, in criminal law, pledge of good conduct given by a person convicted of crime as a condition of release from imprisonment before the expiration of the term of confinement. The word parole is also broadly used to denote such a conditional release or period of liberty. Parole is usually granted to a prisoner in recognition of past good conduct, both in prison and earlier. A sentenced criminal may be released on parole before the maximum limit of the prison term has been reached, either on the expiration of the minimum term or of some other shorter term fixed by statute on condition of good behavior. The release in such case is not an absolute discharge, such as that received as a matter of right on the expiration of the full term, but is conditional on the due performance of the parolee's pledge. During the same parole period the parolee is required to report from time to time to prison authorities or to a parole agent or parole officer to whose custody he or she was assigned when released. Other stipulations of parole include avoiding association with known criminals and remaining within a certain locality. For a violation of parole within the time limit, the parolee is liable to be apprehended and returned to prison to serve out the full or maximum term.

When someone is paroled, they serve part of their sentence under the supervision of their community. The law says that the U.S. Parole Commission may grant parole if (a) the inmate has substantially observed the rules of the institution; (b) release would not depreciate the seriousness of the offense or promote disrespect for the law; and (c) release would not jeopardize the public welfare.

Parole has a three-fold purpose: (1) through the assistance of the United StatesProbation Officer, a parolee may obtain help with problems concerning employment, residence, finances, or other personal problems which often trouble a person trying to adjust to life upon release from prison; (2) parole protects society because it helps former prisoners get established in the community and thus prevents many situations in which they might commit a new offense; and (3) parole prevents needless imprisonment of those who are not likely to commit further crime and who meet the criteria for parole. While in the community, supervision will be oriented toward reintegrating the offender as a productive member of society.

How does the Commission determine if someone is eligible for Parole?

A criminal offender becomes eligible for parole according to the type of sentence received from the court. The "parole eligibility date" is the earliest time the offender might be paroled. If the Parole Commission decides to grant parole, it will set the date of release, but the date must be on or after the "eligibility" date.

The process begins at sentencing. Unless the court has specified a minimum time for the offender to serve, or has imposed an "indeterminate" type of sentence, parole eligibility occurs upon completion of one-third of the term. If an offender is serving a life sentence or a term or terms of 30 years or more he or she will become eligible for parole after 10 years.

The rationale behind parole is that it is something that can be held out to the offender as a reward for good behavior while they are in prison. This assumes that all offenders are rational agents, that is, they can weigh up the pros and cons of various courses of action and make a logical decision as a result. This in many cases is actually a sound assumption - in which case it also can be inferred that longer sentences will act as a strong deterrent, something that many politically correct liberals would deny. They can't have it both ways. Those that cannot be deterred are going to be too irrational and dangerous to release on parole or otherwise.

Another underlying assumption is that all of us are basically good, and...
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