Parole is an essential component of the criminal justice system. In general, parole refers to a temporary or permanent release of prisoners before the expiration of their imprisonment (punishment) in return for good behaviour. Prisoners receive this type of consideration to help them reintegrate into society.
What Is Parole?
The general meaning of the word ‘parole‘ is ‘word of honour‘, and it comes from the French expression ‘Je donne ma parole‘, which refers to ‘I give my word‘. Parole is the release of a prisoner on the promise of good behaviour. It is granted to a prisoner either temporarily for a specific purpose or permanently before the end of a sentence. It could only be given to a prisoner who has already completed a part of their sentence.
Essentials for Granting Parole
According to the 2010 Parole/Furlough Guidelines, parole should be granted keeping in mind the following rules or guidelines:
- Excluding any time spent in remission, a convict must have served at least a year in prison.
- The prisoner had to act well consistently.
- If parole is granted previously, the prisoner should not have broken the law while it was in effect.
- The convicted person shouldn’t have violated any of the conditions and limitations of their prior release.
The advantages of the parole system can be enumerated as follows.
1. Reduces Overcrowding in Prisons/Jails
The parole system helps reduce overcrowding, thereby making it simpler for jail officials to manage fewer inmates than a huge jail population.
2. Reduces Costs
Paying for parole supervision is far simpler and less expensive than trying to post bail to leave jail.
3. Develops Good Behaviour
The parole system helps develop good behaviour in inmates since parole is only given to inmates who exhibit excellent behaviour.
Every aspect of society has some drawbacks along with the benefits it provides. The disadvantages of the parole system are:
1. Enables Criminals to Recommence Committing Crimes
The primary drawback of the parole system is that most criminals who receive parole usually engage in criminal activities.
2. Supervisory Challenges
It is challenging to supervise every offender since there aren’t enough parole officers to manage everyone because of the high number of offenders already under their responsibility.
Types of Parole in India
There are two types of parole in India:
- Custody or emergency parole
- Regular parole
Here’s more about them.
1. Custody or Emergency Parole
In cases of emergency, parole is granted while in custody. All convicted individuals, except foreigners and those serving death sentences, are eligible for custody or emergency parole for 14 days. It is granted in certain circumstances, such as the passing of a family member (including grandparents, parents, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters) and the marriage of a family member (including sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters). However, the term of emergency parole cannot be extended.
2. Regular Parole
Offenders who have served at least a year in jail are eligible for regular parole for a maximum of one month, except under exceptional circumstances. It is given for several purposes, such as:
- A significant sickness affecting a member of the family (including the father, mother, spouse, son, or daughter).
- A fatal accident of a relative or a relative’s passing (similar to custodial parole, as previously mentioned).
- Marriage of a family member.
- A kid is born to the convict’s wife (except for high-security risk prisoners).
- To maintain family or social connections.
- The continuous filing of Special Leave Petition.
Laws Related to Parole in India
Guidelines created under the Prison Acts of 1894 and 1900 are used to manage parole legislation in India. Thus, in India, each state has its parole laws that differ slightly from one another. The primary goal of the parole laws was to release inmates on leave. They are progressive measures for the benefit of the prisoners.
Not all prisoners are eligible for release under parole, including those convicted of crimes against the state or who pose a danger to the security of the country, non-Indian citizens, and others. People found guilty of crimes like serial murder, child rape, murder, and other similar crimes are also excluded unless the granting authority deems otherwise.
Difference Between Parole and Furlough
Parole and furlough are forms of constrained releases. While furlough is granted in cases of long-term imprisonment, parole can be issued in cases of short-term imprisonment. A precise justification is needed for parole, but a furlough is merely intended to break up the monotony of incarceration (imprisonment). The Divisional Commissioner grants parole to the inmates. Further, the Deputy Inspector General of Prisons grants furlough.
Parole is the prisoner’s release on the promise of good behaviour, either temporarily for a specific purpose or permanently before the end of a sentence. The paradigm, however, has drastically changed in recent years as the wealthy and powerful use parole to avoid serving a prison sentence. Contrarily, many other prisoners have their requests for parole rejected because they are weak and helpless, lack the finances to use the procedure, or are unfairly denied the benefit for weak justifications.
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