Parole and probation programs are community monitoring programs that enable the person who is on parole or probation to be out in society while he or she completes his or her court-ordered sentence. The person’s goings and comings are monitored by an officer within the community correction program. All of these programs come with strict rules, but they can vary depending on what the participant needs.

One thing that can vary from one person to another is where he or she serves out his or her sentence. Some people are able to live at home and only report to their officer on a predetermined schedule. Others might have to live in a halfway house or residential drug treatment facility.

The level of supervision a person needs is usually determined by the court, but there are times when the probation or parole officer will implement conditions for specific people. For example, random drug tests are common in the community correction system, but a person who is serving a sentence for drugs might have to take more of these tests than a person who hasn’t ever used drugs.

People who are involved in this system should realize that there is much more to community corrections than just monitoring people in the program. These officers are sometimes given duties that rival a social worker’s. For example, if a person doesn’t have a home, the community corrections officer might provide help finding the person a place to live that meets the requirements of the program.

Probationers and parolees must ensure that they understand the points they must comply with. There is always a chance that a misstep could land them in front of the judge facing a violation. This could mean a trip to prison if the judge sees fit. Offering a defense is crucial in these cases.

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, “10 Treatment for Offenders Under Community Supervision,” accessed Jan. 26, 2018