Many people who commit crimes are placed on probation. The probation can include a jail sentence in the county jail, but usually does not involve jail time, unless the person violates the conditions of probation. These conditions can include alcohol, drug or mental health treatment or monitoring; full-time employment or school; a verified address; abstaining from drug or alcohol use; no driving; no contact with a victim; reporting to a probation officer; and no additional criminal conduct while on probation. If a person is successful in performing these conditions, probation will sometimes be terminated early, or the person will be placed on unsupervised or very limited supervision.
COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS SENTENCES
Judges sometimes give prison sentences to some offenders, but allow the person to serve the sentence in a community based sentence at a facility called community corrections. The person is required to live at the facility for a specified period of time. There are usually conditions, similar to those imposed for probation, that are part of the community corrections sentence. People who have community corrections sentences are usually allowed to go to work during the day.
People who are sentenced to the department of corrections (prison) are usually granted parole after serving a portion, or all of their prison sentence. There are conditions of parole, including reporting to a parole officer, somtimes living in a community corrections facility, plus conditions similar to those imposed for probation or community corrections sentences. The decision to grant parole is made by a parole board at the department of corrections.
VIOLATIONS OF PROBATION, COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS OR PAROLE
Probation violation: If someone violates the conditions of their probation, the Court has several options available. A hearing is held and if the court believes there is a violation, the judge can choose to leave the person on probation with sanctions such as jail time or increased supervision or additional conditions such as monitored sobriety. If the probation violation is severe, such as an additional criminal offense, or the person has violated the probation more than once, the judge can choose to send the person to community corrections or even to prison.
Community corrections violation: If a community corrections sentence is violated, there is a good chance that the person will be sentenced to the department of corrections, although some judges can occasionally be convinced to give the violator a second chance to meet the conditions of the community corrections sentence. A second violation generally results in an immediate sentence to prison.
Parole violation: If a person is accused of violating the conditions of parole, a hearing will be held. If the court determines there is a violation, the person could be returned to prison to serve the remainder of the parole period.
If you have been placed on probation, community corrections or parole and have been informed of a possible violation, it is important that you seek the advice of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Having an attorney who understands the system, the mindset of the probation department, and the judge’s record regarding sentencing, could mean the difference between going to prison or remaining in the community on probation, community corrections or parole.