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History Of The Parole System


Submitted by and viewed 6469 times Total Word Count: 4884 Author Rating: NA Rate this article | Publisher | Print The origin of parole can be associated with the work of a number of individuals who headed prisons; they include Brockway Zebulon in the year 1867, Alexander Maconochie in the year 1840 and Walter Crofton in the year 1854, Brockway Zebulon run the Elmira penitentiary in the New York while Alexander Maconochie was the governor of the Norfolk Island prison, Walter Crofton was the governor of the Irish prison. All the above contributed to the introduction of parole system in the prison system. Introduction:

The origin of parole can be associated with the work of a number of individuals who headed prisons; they include Brockway Zebulon in the year 1867, Alexander Maconochie in the year 1840 and Walter Crofton in the year 1854, Brockway Zebulon run the Elmira penitentiary in the New York while Alexander Maconochie was the governor of the Norfolk Island prison, Walter Crofton was the governor of the Irish prison. All the above contributed to the introduction of parole system in the prison system.

Paroles in the united states were introduced by Brockway Zebulon in the year 1876 as a way to reduce jail overcrowding and at the same time as a way to rehabilitate prisoners by encouraging them to win their way out of prison through good behavior, involves the supervision of a criminal after serving part of jail term and the convict is allowed to live in the community under supervision, the parole period is dependent on the decisions made by the board of parole, violation of parole will result into re imprisonment of the convict.

Brockway Zebulon was born in 1827 and died in the year 1920, he served as a prison warden in the united states where in later years he brought major reforms into prisons, he was in later years regarded as the father of prisons after he introduced major reforms in the prison institutions, he run the Elmira penitentiary in the New York from the year 1876 to the year 1900, however in the year 1912 he authored a book entitled fifty years of prison service.

The origin of parole however can also be attributed to the work of Alexander Maconochie and Walter Crofton, Maconochie was the governor of the Norfolk Island which is located off the coast of Australia, conditions in this penal colony were so bad especially for those who were serving life time imprisonment, Maconochie introduced a prison structure whereby prisoners who arrived in jail were first put under strict imprisonment, then through conditional release and finally freedom, the movement from one stage to another depended on the amount of points prisoners would earn.

Definition of parole:

Paroles are ways in which criminals are supervised in order to determine whether they are likely to commit the same crime or any other crime during this time period, if they do commit a crime during this period then they are sent back to prison to serve a jail term, both probations and paroles are set to determine the rehabilitation level of a convict and whether the convict is fully rehabilitated and whether he or she can live with the society without committing crimes.

Parole is a privilege where one is eligible to parole if the prisoner receives a minimum and maximum sentence and after serving the minimum sentence the parole board may decide to

put him or her under parole after a consideration hearing, this is in contrast with probation where its determined by the judge.

The roles of paroles were therefore to reduce prison term based on good behavior, to supervise the convict after being granted parole and grant freedom to those with uncertain sentences and therefore reduce indeterminate sentences and the major concepts underlying the parole process include the reduction of jail term after good and responsible behavior in prison, supervision of parolees and finally reduce indeterminate sentences.

Paroles are granted to convicts by the parole board, when the parole board feels that a certain individual who has served his minimum term is responsible and can join the community under supervision; on the other hand probations are imposed by the judge as part of the sentence.

Difference between parole and probation:

Paroles and probations are viewed by many people as the same, however exist differences between probation and parole, Probations were introduced by John Augustus, it is an order given by judge as an addition to jail term, probation allows a convict to live in the community under custody of a probation officer for a specified period of time in which the convict will be under supervision, in 1879 they were introduced by many American states. Parole on the other hand were introduced by Brockway Zebulon in the year 1876 as a way to reduce jail overcrowding and at the same time as a way to rehabilitate prisoners by encouraging them to win their way out of prison through good behavior.[1]

Paroles and probations are usually used to refer to the same thing but the two play different roles in rehabilitating prisoners, probations are additional charges on prisoners by a

judge which requires that the prisoner is supervised after leaving a prison and checked whether he or she can leave in the community without committing a similar offence, paroles on the other hand are rewards granted to prisoners for good behavior, they entail a reduction in the number of years and months one serves in prison.

The parole is administered to a person after imprisonment by the parole Board depending on the behavior of the convict, while the probation is administered by a judge depending on the seriousness of the crime, for serious crimes the convict is sentenced for a jail term and after the sentence he must undergo probation, for the parole the judge has no decision on this and granting parole is left to the digression of the parole board in prison.[2]

Another difference is that the probation is administered by a judge before imprisonment depending on the seriousness of a crime committed, the parole is granted to a convict after serving all or part of his sentence in jail and these is granted by the board of parole in prisons depending on the behavior of the convict in jail.

Every one leaving prison is placed under parole for a certain period of time and he or she is required to regularly meet with the parole officer, however a convict does not go under probation after prison because the probation is determined by the judge during sentencing, however during probation it is also required that one meets with the probation officer regularly.

Parole is a privilege where one is eligible to parole if the prisoner receives a minimum and maximum sentence and after serving the minimum sentence the parole board may decide to put him or her under parole after a consideration hearing, this is in contrast with probation where its determined by the judge.

Probation is a sentence which is imposed by a judge as a part of the sentence passed while parole is supervision after prison, paroles are a must for everyone leaving prison but for probations they are based on a judges decision where it is imposed on a person as a part of the sentence.

Parole entails many condition which are set by a the board of parole, if a person under parole commits a crime or fails to regularly meet with the parole officer then the prison can return back to prison because of violating terms and conditions of parole, this will lead to the person being sent back to prison to serve the rest of his or her sentence.

Paroles are granted to persons by the parole board when the parole board feels that a certain individual who has served his minimum term is responsible and can join the community under supervision; on the other hand probations are imposed by the judge as part of the sentence.

History of parole in the United States:

The origin of parole can be dated back to the mid 19th century when convicts in government jails were overcrowded and there was need to grant pardons to convicts in order to create room for more convicts, Brockway Zebulon was credited for the introduction of parole in the united states in the year 1876, and through paroles the convicts could earn their way out of prison through good behavior. [3]

Therefore the roles of paroles were to reduce prison term based on good behavior, to supervise the convict after being granted parole and grant freedom to those with uncertain sentences and therefore reduce indeterminate sentences.

A parole is assigned to a person who is leaving a prison or penitentiary, while for the probation it is ordered by a judge after imprisonment, therefore probation is part of the sentence passed by a judge on top of a jail term while a parole is a privilege granted to convicts who show responsibility in their behavior in jail.[4]

The first parole board in the United States was established in 1930 and it contained three members, in 1945 the parole board started reporting to the attorney general in the year 1945, however the legislature was passed in the year 1950 and this placed the parole board under department of justice in the United States.[5]

In the year 1867 the department of justice in the united state was created, further there was the first statute created that would oversee the reduction of jail terms for convicts with good behavior, this statute was referred to as the good time statute which is what is referred to as parole today. The statute ensured that those chosen through showing responsible behavior in prisons would face a reduction of their jail term, in this year one month per year of the jail term would be reduced if the warden and secretary of interior approved that a convict deserved to be paroled after showing responsible behavior.

In the 1867 statute the warden in charge would observe the behavior of a prisoner and determine whether they deserved to be paroled, however the warden would not authorize the paroles and the interior secretary in a prison would authorize a parole after the warden had approved the parole.

In the early 1870s the statute on parole was amended which was referred to as the good time statute, however the duties of the interior secretary which related to the discharge of

prisoners for parole were transferred and this duties were assigned to the department of justice in the united states, therefore the discharge of prisoners through parole were to be effected through authority from the attorney general and not by the interior secretary of a penitentiary.

In 1981 the attorney general was given the authority to reduce sentences but this was not to exceed two months, this was done through amendment of a legislature providing for the establishment of federal penitentiaries.

In the same year a revision on the good time credit was made which allowed all convicts an equal chance to be paroled, the revision ensured that the credits to good behavior would exceed with the length of the jail term whereby the more the number of years one was to serve in prison then the more the number of months one was likely to get, these credits were amended as follows:

Five days per month on sentences between six months and one year

Six days per month on sentences between 1 year and three years

Eight days per month on a jail term between 5years and 10 years[6]

In addition to these it was amended that prisoners in prison industries would gain a three day credit per month for the first year and five days each month in the other years in a penitentiary, therefore this made it possible for those in prison industries to be paroled for three days per month which would reduce the time spent in jail.

In the year 1902 the paroles were under control of the officers in prisons, the parole board was established which was to have three members where the deputy warden would act as the

chair person, the parole board would determine the rules and regulations and expected behavior, prisoners would be called before the board and behavior analyzed to determine whether the convict deserved a parole, however incase of misconduct and a convict was denied credit the attorney general granted authority to restore credit to convicts if recommendations and evidence are provided to him by the warden.

The parole board established was to oversee the granting of paroles based on the convicts behavior, however other factors that they were to observe were the convicts criminal history, prior opportunities granted to the convict under supervision in the community, behavior in the prison for the jail term served and also the convicts release plan regarding issues such as accommodation, education and employment

In the same year the power to parole was granted to the board of parole which comprised of the superintendent in the justice department, the physician of the prison and the warden, at this time Robert Landow was the first superintendent in the department of justice to be in the board of parole, also there was the introduction of parole officers whose work was to supervise parolees once they are released from prison.[7]

In 1910 there was the amendment of the act that allowed all in mates who were sentenced and confined in any United States prison would have automatic and equal chance to parole laws set in those institutions. This act also provided that no parole would take effect until the attorney general approves it and that violation of parole the parole board had the power to return the parolee to prison, each prison was also required to employ a parole officer who would supervise the convict during the parole period and also assisting parolees to obtain employment.

In 1913 the rules that governed the parole board were formulated, there was also an amendment that allowed prisoners who were serving lifetime imprisonment to be paroled after serving fifteen years, from this year however no further amendments were made until the year 1930.

Major parole alterations were made in the year 1930s, and amendments to the parole systems were made, this include the following:

A single parole board was created and the three members of the parole were allowed to grant paroles without any further approval by the attorney general, the salaries for each of the three parole members in this year was 7,500 dollars per annum.[8]

Convicts who were sentenced for life in jail would be released on the basis of parole once they served 15 years in prison, other amendments were done in the year 1930 and years after which have overseen the current parole regime we have today.

During the years paroles have been governed by rules and regulations that are followed up to date, a parolee must:

Meet with parole officer

Obey rules and regulations

Must report to the parole officer in case of any arrests

Must inform the parole officer in case of any changes in residence

A parolee must not hold any harmful substance or own a firearm

Must refrain from any behavior that may result to an issuance of a restraining order[9]

History of parole in Australia:

The origin of parole however can be dated back in the year 1840 through the work of Alexander Maconochie and Walter Crofton, Walter was an Irishman and Alexander was an Englishman, Maconochie was the governor of the Norfolk Island which is located off the coast of Australia, conditions in this penal colony were so bad especially for those who were serving life time imprisonment, Maconochie introduced a prison structure whereby prisoners who arrived in jail were first put under strict imprisonment, then through conditional release and finally freedom, the movement from one stage to another depended on the amount of points prisoners would earn.[10]

Maconochie in the process initiated the mark system whereby inmates would earn their way out of prison through good behavior and hard work, these marks earned by prisoners could be in a way be used to purchase goods or reduce the a jail term.

Walter Crofton can also be credited for the introduction of the parole system in the prison system, in the year 1854 he was governor of the Irish prison, as the governor of the Irish prison he initiated the three class penal servitude system, this included the following classes: the strict imprisonment class, the indeterminate sentence class and the ticket of leave class.[11]

Parole in china:

Paroles in china were introduced in the year 1902 and their paroles involved the practice of parole on medical grounds, prisoners were granted parole depending on medical grounds, however the parole system was abused where by prisoners would be released or granted parole even if the convict was not seriously ill, paroles were granted on the condition that medical treatment was not available in prison.[12]

Conclusion:

Paroles were introduced to reduce jails terms to prisoners but not to all prisoners but to those who showed good and responsible behavior for the years in serve in prison. They were also introduced as a way to encourage responsible behavior in rehabilitating convicts and at the same time a way to reduce the level of prisoners in jail which were already over crowded and the paroles would solve the problem of over crowding and at the same time make room for more prisoners.

The roles of paroles were to reduce prison term based on good behavior, to supervise the convict after being granted parole and grant freedom to those with uncertain sentences and therefore reduce indeterminate sentences. Some of the major concepts that underlie the parole system include the reduction of jail term after good and responsible behavior in prison, supervision of parolees and finally reduce indeterminate sentences.

Paroles should not be confused with probations as the two stand for two different systems in the judicial system, probations are additional charges on prisoners by a judge which requires that the prisoner is supervised after leaving a prison and checked whether he or she can leave in the community without committing a similar offence, paroles on the other hand are rewards

granted to prisoners for good behavior, they entail a reduction in the number of years and months one serves in prison.

Over the years since the introduction of the parole system by Brockway Zebulon in the year 1876 which acted as a way to reduce overcrowding in prisons and at the same time as a way to rehabilitating prisoners by encouraging them to win their way out of prison through good behavior, has faced many amendments in the system, a shift in the responsibility and power to grant paroles have shifted over the years, another change is the change in parole limits as to how many days or months a person will granted depending on the jail term of a convict. However the mode of granting of parole which is through good behavior has not changed and the assessment of who is to be granted parole depends on good behavior up to date.

Other initiators of the parole system include Alexander Maconochie who was an Englishman and the governor of the Norfolk Island and Walter Crofton who was an Irish and governor of the Irish prison.

Previously the parole board members were three in number but today the number has increased and in some states the board members even amount to 13 members, paroles have however become efficient in the recent past through improvement in the justice system all over the states, this has been made possible by the existence of amendments to provisions that govern the parole system.