Parole is a form of supervised release granted to individuals who have served a portion of their prison sentences. In 2020, the National Institute of Corrections reported the number of parolees in Tennessee was 12,407.
While parole offers an opportunity for reintegrating into society, it comes with specific conditions and requirements. Violating these conditions can have serious consequences.
Technical violations vs. new offenses
Parole violations are in two main categories: technical violations and new offenses. Technical violations occur when a parolee fails to adhere to the conditions of their parole, such as missing appointments or not completing required programs. New offenses involve the commission of a new criminal act while on parole.
Arrest and detention
When there is a suspicion a parolee violated their parole conditions, authorities can arrest and detain them.
Parole revocation hearing
A parolee has the right to a parole revocation hearing before the court or parole board makes any final decision. At this hearing, the individual and authorities can present evidence related to the alleged violations to prove or disprove the allegations.
If authorities find the parolee committed a technical violation, the parole board may impose sanctions such as additional supervision, mandatory programs or curfew. For more severe technical violations or new offenses, the parolee may go back to prison.
Parolees who return to prison may have to serve the remainder of their original sentence. This can be a substantial period, depending on the original offense and the time already served on parole.
Tennessee has mandatory minimum sentences for certain offenses. If a parolee commits one of these offenses while on parole, they may face a mandatory minimum prison term before becoming eligible for parole again.
Parolees who violate their parole conditions may also forfeit any good time credits they earned during their initial incarceration. These credits can significantly reduce the time served in prison.
Committing a parole violation can impact a parolee’s chances of parole in the future. The parole board may view the individual as a higher risk and not eligible for early release.
Parole violations can make it more challenging for parolees to secure stable employment and housing, which are crucial factors in successful reintegration into society.
Violating parole can lead to serious repercussions. It is in the best interests of those within the system and society as a whole to find ways to help discourage parole violations.