Into The Abyss:
A Personal Journey into the World of Street Gangs

by Mike Carlie, Ph.D.        
Michael K. Carlie
Continually updated.

~ Table of Contents ~
Home | Foreword | Preface | Orientation

What I Learned | Conclusions
End Note |
| Appendix
Site Map / Contents
| New Research

Up-To-Date Gang-Related News


Part 1:
The Difference Between Probation and Parole 
and Their "Conditions"

People convicted of a crime and placed on probation serve their sentence in the community under the supervision of a probation officer and must adhere to specific conditions. A sentence to probation is usually accompanied by a "suspended sentence" to imprisonment. As long as probationers adhere to the conditions of their probation, they remain free in the community. 

If a probationer violates the conditions, however, his or her probation can be revoked (terminated) and the offender may be sent to prison to finish the term of the original sentence. For example, someone given a sentence of five years probation also receives a suspended  five year sentence to prison. If, on the last day of the second year of probation the probationer's probation status is revoked (terminated), he or she will be sent to prison for the remaining three years in order to complete the original sentence.

Parole, on the other hand, is a conditional early release from prison which, like probation, is served in the community, under supervision, and is subject to specific conditions. How early prisoners are released depends, in part, on how well they behave while in prison. The amount of time taken off the end of their original prison sentence is called "good time." For every day an inmate behaves properly in prison, good time may be awarded. 

The grounds upon which an inmate accumulates "good time" varies from state to state. It is not uncommon for two or three days to be taken off the end of an inmate's sentence for every day of good behavior while in prison. For example, an inmate with a three year prison term may be released on parole after having been in prison for one year (that's two days of good time for every one day of good behavior while in prison). Parole, like probation, can also be revoked if the conditions are violated. Parolees who violate the conditions of their parole may be sent back to prison to complete their sentence. 

The following are typical conditions under which probationers and parolees must live if they hope to remain in the community. They must: 

bulletreport to the probation/parole officer by phone, in writing, or in person;

bulletabstain from the use and possession of intoxicants or illicit drugs;

bulletremain in the county or state and not leaving without permission;

bulletabstain from communication with persons on parole or inmates of penal institutions;

bulletrefrain from association with persons who have criminal record or who are involved in criminal activity;

bulletpermit visits by the probation/parole officer into their home, place of employment, or elsewhere;

bulletnoticing the probation/parole officer of a change in residence, marital status, or employment;

bulletcarry out all instructions provided by his or her probation/parole officer;

bulletnot possess or own a firearm;

bulletsubmit to a urinalysis, curfew, or treatment as prescribed by the probation/parole officer;

bulletwork regularly at a lawful occupation and support dependents without public assistance as long as possible;

bulletrefrain from violating the law and report to the probation/parole, within a specified period of time;

bulletpay a specified amount of money monthly for the term of the probationer's probation to defray the costs of his or her supervision; and

bulletcomply with all other conditions of his or her probation/parole as established by the court and the probation/parole officer.

In addition to these standard condition, gang members on probation or parole may also be required to:

bulletavoid contact with certain named persons (other gang members),

bulletstay away from specific places (gang hang outs), and 

bulletrefrain from throwing signs, putting up graffiti, or wearing clothes or accessories which symbolize gang membership. 

bulletThey may even be required to have certain gang-related tattoos removed or camouflaged.

As has already been mentioned, probationers and parolees who violate one or more of the conditions may have their status revoked and sent to prison to complete the remainder of their original sentence.


Additional Resources: You can review gang-related legislation intended for use by probation and parole officers.

The Municipal Court of Bowling Green (OH) has posted their conditions of probation as has Clackamas County (Oregon).

The State of Ohio's Parole Board has an informative site on the Web. The State of Connecticut has posted their Conditions of Parole on the Web.

The state of Delaware's Parole Board has a brief description of the factors they consider before recommending parole.

You can visit the Web site of for answers to several questions about probation and parole. (Please excuse all the advertisements.)

2002 Michael K. Carlie
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the author and copyright holder - Michael K. Carlie.