Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney: Parole vs. Probation | Law Offices of Craig Weintraub
cleveland criminal defense attorney parole probation

Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney: Parole vs. Probation

Parole and probation are sometimes used interchangeably by people who don’t know any better. Although they do have similarities, the two sentences have different reasons, procedures, and purposes. If you have questions about your options or are in need of a knowledgeable and strong defense in court, Cleveland criminal defense attorneys like Craig Weintraub can help you understand your options and prepare you for any outcome in court.

Even though parole and probation are similar, there are some differences. Understanding those differences can help you prepare for court dates and anything that follows.


Parole is a release from incarceration. It is overseen by state correctional systems and parolees must adhere to certain conditions upon being released. This occurs when an offender is serving jail or prison time and after spending a certain amount of time incarcerated, they may present the case before a parole board, which can grant an early release, usually in the form of parole. Parole can also be granted if the inmate has exhibited good behavior, rehabilitation, or a strong desire to return to society. A parole board is not the only way parole can be granted to inmates. Sometimes inmates may be released on parole based on certain provisions. They must also adhere to guidelines set forth by the body granting parole. Usually parolees have some sort of supervision. Active supervision means they are required to report to a parole authority on a regular basis, whether in person, by mail, or by telephone. If parolees have complied and met all their required conditions prior to the end of the sentence, they may be moved to inactive status. Other supervision statuses may include having to fulfill financial conditions, absconding, or those who still have active warrants. Oftentimes, parolees must also fulfill conditions or follow specific rules while in society. Failure to fulfill these conditions can result in going back to jail or prison.


Probation is usually a part of a defendant’s sentence. It is usually granted in place of or as a suspension of a prison sentence, and is determined by the judge. The judge also determines the requirements and restrictions the probationer will have to follow. They must adhere to strict rules throughout the term or they may have to serve a prison sentence. Occasionally, a probationer may have to serve some jail time, followed by probation. This is referred to as a split-sentence. Just like with parole, there are different statuses. In this case, active supervision also refers to the requirement to regularly check in with a probation authority either in person, or by mail or telephone. For those with an inactive status, they are not required to report regularly for different reasons, such as a less severe offense, or a reduction in required supervision which moved them from active to inactive status. Just like with parole, other supervision statuses include having to fulfill financial conditions, absconding, or those who still have active warrants. Sometimes probationers have to fulfill certain criteria, such as paying fines or court costs or participating in a treatment program. They also have to follow specific rules of conduct while in society. Failure to comply with any of these requirements may result in incarceration. Some conditions for probationers may include doing community service, participating in counseling services for addiction issues, paying fines or restitution for damages, restriction on drugs, alcohol, and weapon usage or possession, and restrictions on areas in the community they can visit.

If you’re facing criminal charges, you may not fully understand your options, especially if they include options for probation or parole. Working with a knowledgeable and strong Cleveland defense attorney like Craig Weintraub will help you understand each and every option available to you. This will help you have the best defense in court and protect you from unfair and harsh sentences.