Parole In America Essay

2478 words - 10 pages

Parole is a highly debated topic in the United States

Parole in America

Parole is a highly debated topic in the United States. Parole, is defined by the supervised conditional release of a prisoner before the expiration of his or her sentence. Parole is usually granted to a prisoner in recognition of past good conduct, prior to imprisonment and/or while serving time. A sentenced criminal may be released on parole before the maximum limit of the prison term has been reached. The release is conditional on the performance of the parolee's pledge. During the parole period the parolee is required to report to prison authorities or to a parole agent or parole officer to whose custody he or she was assigned when released. If a parolee is in violation of parole he or she is likely to be apprehended and returned to prison to serve out the maximum prison sentence.

Parole began in the late nineteenth century. The idea of parole first came about at the National Congress of Penitentiary and Reformatory Discipline in 1870. The idea caught on quickly because it relieved political pressure on governors for granting clemency and pardons. It also gave prisoners, who were thought to be reformed, a chance to prove that they were ready to be released back into society. By the end of the nineteenth century over half of the states in American were using some sort of parole system. By 1948 all of the states had parole for prisoners in its institutions.

In the thirteen year period between 1980 and 1993 the prison population of State Correctional facilities rose by one - hundred and eighty eight percent. In other words the prison population went from over 300,000 to over 900,000. This was an increase of nine - hundred new inmates a week. This increase in prisoners made parole even more important and necessary. There was simply not enough room to put all the inmates. Even with more and more prisoners being put on parole the capacity of Federal prisons was thirty-six percent over capacity while State prisons were at one-hundred and eighteen percent over their capacity. With these staggering numbers it is easy to see why parole is almost a necessity in the United States.

Parole is only eligible to prisoners who have significantly observed and obeyed the rules of the prison. The release does not reduce the seriousness of the offense or promote disrespect for the law. Also, the release of a prisoner would not be believed to jeopardize public wellbeing or the person would not be released from prison early. There have been cases, however when murders have been released on parole just to kill again. This is arguably the worst thing that can happen if a person who should not be put on parole gets released back into society.

Parole has three purposes. First, through the assistance of a Probation Officer, a parolee may obtain help with problems concerning employment, residence, finances, or other personal problems, which often are extremely difficult for a...

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