Probation and Parole

Jeffrey A. Butts (2008). Probation and Parole. In the Encyclopedia of Social Work, 20th Edition. Terry Mizrahi and Larry E. Davis (Editors). New York, NY: Oxford University Press and the National Association of Social Workers.

Probation and parole are essential components of the juvenile and criminal (adult) justice systems. Probation sentences (or “dispositions” in juvenile court terminology) limit the freedom of offenders while avoiding the cost of incarceration. Following a legal finding of guilt (or “responsibility” in juvenile court), an offender may be given a period of probation lasting from several months to several years. Parole refers to a period of community supervision that follows an offender’s release from incarceration (or “placement” in juvenile court). Offenders on probation or parole may risk additional sanctions and even reimprisonment if they violate the rules and conditions of parole. Programs provided by adult parole agencies are often referred to as “reentry,” while juvenile parole programs may be known as “aftercare.”