Running Head: Parole Essay
Running Head: Parole
Parole refers to the release of a prison before his or her term is over and then subjected to continued observation together with the need to comply with particular terms and conditions for a particular duration, normally up to the end of their sentence (Garton, 2003). It is the setting free of prisoners giving their word of honor to follow some specified terms and conditions to serve their remaining time out of custody. Parole is different from probation, for the former is given to prisoners to complete their term while outside the prison, while the latter is given in place of a prison sentence. While on parole, the prisoners are considered to be serving their sentence and in case of violation of the terms and conditions they can be sent back to prison.
One kind of parole that is common is medical parole otherwise referred to as compassionate release. This is where a prisoner is set free before the completion of his prison sentence for medical or humanitarian reasons. The terms and conditions applied include: obedience to the law; abstaining from alcohol and drug use; staying away from the prisoner’s victims; getting a job; and sustaining the needed contact with the parole officer. All these and many other rules must be followed by the parolee.
There are some justice systems, like in the US where the prisoner is kept under supervision after serving their sentence; this is not similar to parole. Parole is very common in many justice systems around the world. It has been working effectively for a very long time. However, this has been a controversial issue in the criminal justice systems of many countries (Kuziemko, 2007). This paper seeks to establish how parole can be used as an incentive to control inmate behavior. What would happen if there was no early release?
Parole should motivate an offender to abide by the law. It gives the offender a chance to avoid prison sentence and the opportunity to stay out of custody. Parole discourages the offender from further criminal offences, while utilizing a likely return to custody as a negative consequence for failing to observe the terms and conditions of parole. Avoiding long term in prison is a good reason for the offender to stay out of trouble and abide by the law. Going back to prison is not something many would want and that is how parole motivates offenders to become law-abiding citizens (Kuziemko, 2007).
Parole can be considered a reward for good behavior. Allocation of parole date by the parole board when prisoners are being incarcerated gives then the incentives to invest in their own rehabilitation. Through the prospect of early release, a prisoner is more likely to invest in their own rehabilitation. The prisoner is likely to reform or be in his best behavior so that his time in prison can be shorter.
Prisoners are aware that parole is given to prisoners who maintain exemplary record and those who reveal signs of development and rehabilitation during their time in prison. As a result prisoners who are expectant work very hard to ensure that they get out earlier than their sentence dictates. Researches have revealed the fact that prisoners who are subjected to parole and its terms and conditions are less likely to commit another crime and return back to prison. Most of them undergo complete reformation and continue with their good behavior (Garton, 2003).
Paroles are designed to assist the offender reintroduce themselves to the community. This ensures that the role of reintroducing the offender to the community is taken off the hands of the criminal justice system into the hands of the offender. It ensures smooth transition back into the society.
The offender is only released on parole once he has leant to behave in ways that are acceptable to the society. Once he has motivated himself to behaving in the acceptable way he will continue with this behavior and survive out of prison. Successful paroles discourage recurrence of crime, which is advantageous to the offender and the society. Unlike the absolute law system, the parole program ensures that it is the responsibility of the offender to make amends to the society (Garton, 2003).
Providing parole to the prisoners is a motivation to them because working hard to meet the terms and conditions of parole means they are better, behaved people who are striving to achieve an objective. Parole gives prisoners a goal to work towards. This unlike where they are waiting for their prison sentence to be over. When waiting for the prison sentence to be completed, it does not matter how a person behaves or whether the prisoner is making any efforts to reform.
With the parole expectations the prisoner strives to follow the rules and participate in prison and rehabilitative programs. They work hard to change their behavior and their outlook of life in general. Prisoners who are expecting to be released on parole are given a chance to anticipate their release and will do everything in their power to ensure this happens. They will be able to stay out of trouble for this might make their time in prison longer if their parole is withdrawn (Kuziemko, 2007).
It is more likely for prisoners on parole to take part in training and educational programs that otherwise. One of the reasons is because they are striving to be in their best behavior. The other reason is because in most criminal justice systems, one of the conditions of parole is acquiring employment. This is not possible once a person has no education or training. A prisoner expecting to be released on parole will be motivated to take advantage of education and training programs available for prisoners. He might also want to pay back to the community for the wrongs he has committed (Samra-Grewal and Roesch, 2000).
Once a person is released on parole, there is great chance of going back to prison. This is because there are very many rules, terms and conditions that must be met and if any of them is broken the person is sent back to prison. The rules, terms and conditions are the only ticket for the offender to stay out of prison and thus should be followed to the letter. This means that the person is not only in his best behavior in prison before the parole date, but also after he has been released back to the community. The person release on parole is motivated to see his freedom last by not going back to jail.
Parole is a motivating factor to an offender to continue giving back to the society once he is out of prison. This is unlike when a person is released after completing his term in prison and is not bound by as many rules, terms and conditions. The terms and conditions enable the offender to be a good person as he is sent back to the society. They also make him learn to abide by the others laws of the country limiting the chances of recidivism. When parole is properly managed it can lower recidivism rates by about 30 percent. This means that parole is a good thing for it can cause one to become a law-abiding citizen, not by false, but by motivation (Kuziemko, 2007).
There are times, especially when the prisons are congested that orders are given for prisoners to be released. For example, on March 18, 1981, the governor of Georgia ordered the release of more than 900 prisoners to ease congestion in the local prisons. Most of the prisoners who are released if such a case happens are those on the list of the parole board for being on good behavior. Once there is possibility for parole and prisoners are aware of it, this gives them an incentive to work hard to be included on the list of those who will be set free. The idea of parole, the sentence period not withstanding, motivates prisoners to working their way out of jail and working hard not to return (Samra-Grewal and Roesch, 2000).
Decisions related to parole are based on a blend of evaluations of prior conducts and forecasts of future behavior. This depends on the recognized role of the decisions in the criminal justice system and the likely effects on the offender. Evaluations and predictive judgments are based on the criminal behavior of the offender. The offender is usually aware of the fact that his behavior will be closely evaluated in making the decision on whether to release him or not.
He knows that various evaluations on various aspects of his behavior will be undertaken. As a result, he tries as much as possible to behave well from all perspectives so that the results of the decision will be positive. This cannot be based on pretence because in pretending one cannot reform from all perspectives of his life. This is hard, but the idea of being released before the prison sentence is complete motivates the action (Garton, 2003).
It has been argued that longer contact with serious prisoners can increase a prisoner’s criminal capital. Some prisoners pick negative behavior from other criminals especially after being in prison for a long period of time. Parole is advantageous from this point of view for it ensures that those prisoners who have reformed and those who have been on their good behavior are removed from this situation. They are taken away so that they cannot be corrupted by others who can be termed as prison mongers or hardcore criminals. These are the hardcore criminals who do not mind staying in prison for ever and thus make no effort to reform.
Prisoners, who have the possibility of getting out of prison to be free from such people, strive hard without being forced to get parole. If there were no paroles it would mean that some of the prisoners who are capable of reforming are stuck with hardcore criminals getting criminal capital. This would also mean no motivation for offenders to reform. After the end of their prison sentence, these people might recommit the crime or get involved in worse criminal activities. Early releases work positively in saving some of the offenders who are worthy saving (Kuziemko, 2007).
Exposure to long dehumanizing conditions in prison for a long time may affect transition back to the community. Early releases give offenders who have reformed and have been on their best behavior chances to escape the terrible prison conditions. As earlier mentioned they offer a smooth transition back to the society. Prospects of returning to one’s family and friends before the prison sentence is over are a motivating factor to the prisoners. People serving longer sentences might loose contact with their family members, friends and other possible stabilizing factors.
This is the effect that is eliminated by early releases, hence motivating the offender. Once a prisoner is released on parole for good behavior he is likely to be accepted back into the community more easily than a person who serves a complete prison sentence. Additionally, parole gives the community a chance to observe an offender since he is under supervision to complete his sentence while out of prison (Samra-Grewal and Roesch, 2000).
Correctional officers use various forms of punishment, official and non-official to punish bad behavior in prison. This together with the possibility of getting out of prison earlier provides incentives to prisoners. If a person knows that there is a way of escaping the serious punishment administered by the officers, that include allowing abusive behaviors from other prisoners, he will do everything possible to escape. The best way to achieve this will be being in the best behavior. The US Attorney in Georgia claims that the increase violence in the federal prison system has something to do with the elimination of parole.
“The increase in violence in the prisons is not one of America’s great mysteries…[Inmates] are serving longer sentences and they feel they’ve got nothing to lose” (Kuziemko, 2007: 28). This means that elimination of parole is dangerous to some offenders. There are offenders who reform earlier before their term is ended. Staying longer in prison after reforming is dangerous to the offender, not ably health wise but also as far as his behavior is concerned.
The aim of putting an offender into custody is for him to be rehabilitated and return back to the society. Therefore there is no sense in having a person who has reformed longer in prison. This kind of person is likely to pick bad behavior in there or worse still develop hatred to the system and the urge to revenge, which will make him a worse criminal that he was before incarceration. Early releases are significant from this point of view by returning back to the society those offenders who are sorry and have paid their due to the community (Garton, 2003).
Most of the people who enter prison have serious needs. They have problems like drug and substance addition, and lack of anger management skills among others. Some of these needs are unsatisfied while they are inside the prison. They are not given the chance or a way to get past their needs. Getting out to the community under supervision gives them a chance to face their problems head on. They know that the terms and conditions of their parole do not allow then to use drugs and alcohol or to engage in any other unlawful activity.
Given the fact that they are in a society where they have the chance to go back to their vices, and knowing too well that this would land them back to prison makes it easier for them to deal with their needs. This is unlike a person who spends his full term in prison and gets out without being provided with a way to confront his problems and not bound by any terms and conditions. It is much easier for the latter to go back to his vices that the former and this is what would happen where there are no early releases (Samra-Grewal and Roesch, 2000).
This paper establishes how parole can be used as an incentive to control inmate behavior and a discussion of what would happen if there was no early release. With parole there is no need for mandatory rehabilitation for the offenders are given the incentives to change their behaviors. Where one knows that the key to getting out earlier that required is being on his best behavior, he will be motivated to do so.
People who are expecting to get out on parole will engage in education, training and other rehabilitative programs without being forced for they are motivated to work their way out of prison early. Probation is thus a motivating factor for offenders to change their behavior and become law-abiding citizens.
Without parole, this motivation is eliminated since prisoners will have to wait for their jail term to end no regardless of whether they work hard to be better people or not. Parole is advantageous, first in motivating offenders to reform, ensuring smooth transition back into the society and cutting on the costs by holding reformed people in prison unnecessarily. It is thus beneficial not only to the offender, but also the society.
Garton, S. (2003). Managing Mercy: African Americans, Parole and Paternalism in the Georgia
Prison System 1919-1945, Journal of Social History, Vol. 36.
Kuziemko, I. (2007). Going off Parole: How the Elimination of Discretionary Prison
Release Affects the Social Cost of Crime, NBER Working Paper Series. Retrieved on July 24, 2010 from http://www.nber.org/papers/w13380
Samra-Grewal, J. & Roesch, R. (2000). The Parole Attitudes Scale (PAS): Development of a 15
Item Scale to Assess Attitudes toward Conditional Release, Canadian Journal of Criminology, Vol. 42.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 21 April 2017
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