When given a prison sentence, most of those that are incarcerated will be given the chance at an early release in the form of parole. Parole is typically granted for inmates that have shown good behavior, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a full release from prison. While on parole, former inmates will have to adhere to some strict guidelines.
A violation of these guidelines often means that someone on parole will go back to prison to serve out the rest of their original sentence. If you know someone that has possibly violated his/her parole, find out here what can happen to them. There are many different ways in which parole can be violated, but there are some instances that are much more common than others. Let’s take a look at the most common parole violations that are seen by parole officers every day.
Moving/Crossing State Lines
Parolees are under careful supervision but are seen as flight risks many times in the eyes of the law. Because of this, parolees aren’t allowed to leave the state in which they were paroled unless given expressed written consent from the court. The same situation goes for moving to a new home.
Too often, parolees will assume that they can change their address without having to give notice. Even if a parolee is moving just a few blocks away, the parole officer has to be made aware and sign off on the move. If moving out of the state, the parole officer should be notified well in advance as the parole will have to be transferred to that new state. If the move is because of a new career opportunity, the parolee should have no issue in getting authorization to move.
Failing a Drug Test
In pretty much every parole case, a parolee will be told that they can’t use drugs or alcohol during their parole period. To make sure that a parolee is staying on the straight and narrow, a parole officer can request a drug test with no reasoning or advanced warning. This catches a lot of parolees off guard and leads to a violation.
Parole officers will often administer an alcohol test, as well as a 5-panel drug test that sees if a parolee tests positive for drugs including amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and PCP. Depending on the positive results, punishment can range anywhere from a warning to a full loss of parole privileges. Even if your state has legalized drugs such as marijuana, it’s still a violation of parole if you test positive.
Unfortunately, around a third of those that were released from prison on parole will end up back in jail due to recidivism, which is when a new crime is committed by a former inmate. It should probably go without saying that committing a crime and getting arrested while on parole is perhaps the most egregious way to violate parole. In this situation, a parolee is looking at two different court cases at the same time. One for the new crime that was committed and another for the parole violation. Parolees will want to avoid this at all costs, as bail amounts will undoubtedly be higher for a rearrest.
Failure to Report
Sometimes, a parolee doesn’t take the conditions of their freedom very seriously. When parole is granted, each parolee is assigned a parole officer that they have to check in with at specified times and will have to answer their calls or house visits when they happen. Oftentimes, parolees will think that they can check in with the officer on their own terms, which often leads to a warrant being placed on that parolee.
Parolees are able to have these charges dropped if there’s a good reason for not checking in. However, there are only a couple of valid excuses that are granted by the officers. Hospitalization is one of those reasons, as a parolee wouldn’t be expected to visit a parole office or make calls while incapacitated.
Not Meeting Parole Conditions
More than the condition of meeting with a parole officer, one aspect of parole that isn’t taken seriously enough quite often are the specific conditions that are given by the court. Fees have to be paid as part of being on parole, and there’s a lot of paperwork that has to be filled out.
On top of that, parolees are typically assigned a certain amount of community service that has to be completed in a predetermined timeframe. For those that have at least attempted to do as much community service as they can, serious violations can be avoided with an extension upon the court’s permission.
Associating With Felons
While some parole violations occur because they’re simply ignored, this is one that may happen because the parolee didn’t know it existed. While on parole, you can’t associate with anyone that you know to be a felon. This is the case in almost all parole requirements, and it’s there for a reason. The goal of parole is to reintegrate into society while avoiding the pitfalls that led to arrest and incarceration in the first place. If you aren’t associating with felons on a daily basis, you’re less likely to fall into the same behavior.
While it might be difficult as an adult to hear that you have to be home at a certain time, that’s just one of the realities of being on parole. A probation officer will let you know what hours you have to be home, and being caught outside during those hours can lead to a violation. There are some exceptions, including a job that requires you to be out during potential curfew hours, but they must be approved by a parole officer.
Finally, a parolee must have a job to meet the conditions of their release. It isn’t the easiest thing to do, though, as some employers will be apprehensive about hiring someone on parole. However, most courts will be satisfied if a parolee has shown that they are actively looking for a job. The best course of action is to speak with the parole officer, who can give some leads to employers that are actively hiring parolees.
There are other minor violations that can affect parole, often leading to extension of parole or even a short return to jail. Out of all of the potential violations, though, these are by far the most common. If you or someone you know has been paroled, know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be doing on a daily basis to avoid these common mistakes that get parolees sent back to prison.