Parole is the act of being released from a penal or reformatory institution in which one has served a part of his maximum sentence, on condition on maintaining good behavior and remaining under the supervision or guidance of the institution or some other approved agency until final discharge is granted. Parole is granted by an administrative board or an executive and is always preceded by serving part of the sentence.
According to Sutherland, “Parole is an act of releasing or the status of being released from a penal or reformatory institution in which one has served a part of his maximum sentence on condition of maintaining good behavior and remaining in the custody and under guidance of the institution or some other agency approved by the state until a final discharge is granted.”
Reformation of the parolee through surveillance and assistance is the foremost object of parole. Neither supervision nor assistance alone can make the system effective. In the words of Sutherland, the system must therefore include a combination of these two for its successful implementation. Excessive supervision over parolees without proper guidance would virtually mean that the parole authorities are performing the police functions of keeping a close watch on the prisoner under the threat of punishment taking it for granted that the latter would definitely repeat the crime if not kept under surveillance.
The purpose of parole system is not only leniency towards the prisoner (Parole) but to seek his rehabilitation in future life also. The parole has a dual purpose of protecting the society and at the same time brings about the rehabilitation of the offender.
Parole is a rehabilitative phase of law enforcement. The system of parole essentially involves two considerations.
Firstly, watchful control over parolee so that he could be returned to prison institution from which parole was granted to him if the interest of public security so demanded.
Secondly, constructive help and advice to parolee by securing him suitable work so as to develop self-confidence in him and finally to guard him against exploitation.
In essence parole is a penal device which seeks to humanize prison justice. It enables the prisoner to return to the outside world on certain conditions.
The main objectives of parole technique are;
- To enable the inmate to maintain continuity with his family life and deal with family matters.
- To save the inmate from the evil from the evil effects of continuous prison life.
- To enable the inmate to retain self-confidence and active interest in life.
Therefore, the inmate should be assisted to reform by both the society and the parole authorities. This can be done by the society accepting him or her and the parole authorities finding him or her work to do so that he can be able to relax and have sense of belonging and responsibility.