Difference between Probation and Parole


What is Probation: 

The Latin word "probate," which means "to test" or "to prove," is the origin of the English term probation. It is an alternate, non-custodial form of punishment. In cases where imprisonment is not in the accused's best interests, the individual may be released into the community and placed under probation officers' supervision instead of being jailed. The Probation of Offender Act of 1958 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, both from 1973, are the two main parts of Indian law that address probation. Probation was first provided under Section 562 of the CrPC 1898.

After several amendments, Section 360 now includes the provision. Before the revised CrPC took effect in 1973, the Indian Parliament passed the Probation of Offenders Act in 1958, which includes some measures not covered by the CrPC. The sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that address probation are 360 and 361. The provisions of Sections 360 and 361 do not impact the legality of the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act, the Children Act of 1960, or any other similar law.

What is Parole:

The expression “I give my word," is where the word "parole" comes from. The objective of parole, like probation, is to give the offender a second chance. However, parole is a type of liberty that is only available to criminals who are serving their jail sentences. The Prisons Act, of 1894 and the Prisoners Act, of 1900 define the parole requirements in India. However, the state governments are free to enact their own parole rules, there is no fully unified system of parole laws in India. The criteria for parole differ slightly from state to state. However, a certain set of offenders are not eligible for parole:

• Who does not reside in India?

• Found guilty of crimes that endanger national security.

• Found guilty of state offenses.

• Breaking jail discipline regulations.

You might be interested in: Parole in India: History | Objective | Types | Laws 

Difference between parole and probation:

The major difference between Probation and Parole is that under Probation, offenders are released into the community under supervision instead of being imprisoned. Parole is an early release from prison for an inmate without the conclusion of his jail term. Some of the other differences between parole and probation are as follows:

  1. The offenders who are released with the community but under supervision are granted probation, whereas, the offenders who are temporarily released but with certain conditions to be followed by the offender during that release are termed as parole. 
  2. Probation is governed under CrPC and the probation of offender’s act whereas, parole has no uniform act or a concrete set of rules and regulations as the state government has the power to issue its own rules and guidelines. Therefore, there are various guidelines across the world.
  3. On probation, the convicts make the decision rather than the court, whereas, on parole, the convicts are temporarily released.
  4. Probation is where an alternative penalty is given instead of the imprisonment term, and parole is granted during the term of imprisonment.
  5. While probation is judicial, parole is quasi-judicial.
  6. An offender is granted probation before serving a term of imprisonment, and parole is granted after serving a term of imprisonment or during the term of imprisonment. 
  7. Parole is granted to offenders serving the term of imprisonment and probation is not granted to offenders who have been imprisoned before.
  8. If an offender violates any probationary requirements, he gets convicted and sentenced to jail for a specific amount of time. However, breaking the terms of parole leads a convict back to jail, where their previous sentence of imprisonment resumes.
  9. The initial phase of probation is a rehabilitative process. However, parole comes after a term of punishment for the offender.
  10. There is less stigma associated with an individual under probation as he does receive a prison sentence. Whereas, a parolee would experience prejudice after he was let back into society.

Probation: merits and demerits


  1. It assists in avoiding the impact of imprisoned criminals on first-time offenders.
  2. It safeguards and helps young offenders become better.
  3. It helps in avoiding overcrowding in jails.
  4. It gives a criminal a second chance to contribute to society normally.


  1. It enables criminals to avoid punishment from the law.
  2. It sends the wrong message to those planning crimes that they can get away with it

Parole: merits and demerits


  1. It makes it feasible for inmates to maintain contact with their loved ones and community.
  2. They can participate in significant family issues and work through personal issues with its assistance.
  3. It provides them with a momentary break from the negative repercussions of being in prison.
  4. It succeeds in achieving the goal of the prisoner's rehabilitation and reformation.
  5. It motivates inmates to behave well while imprisoned.


  1. Good behavior, while you’re behind bars, does not ensure good behavior when you're released.
  2. Political interference has a very high likelihood of occurring. Political connections make parole easier for privileged prisoners.


Essentially, both parole and probation are legally recognized methods of rehabilitation and correction in the Indian criminal justice system, though they are not recognized as 'rights' per se. It reduces the negative effects of imprisonment on convicts and reduces the negative influence of hard-core criminals on other convicts. However, it might create an impression that the criminal justice system is lenient and that they would not suffer any repercussions.

How can a lawyer help?

Anyone participating in either of these community supervision programs can benefit from the assistance of a parole or probation attorney. If you are accused of violating the terms of your parole or probation, your lawyer can help defend your case and prevent further legal repercussions.