Policy of Releasing Parolees From Prison
Parole is universally defined as releasing a prisoner before the jail term expires and then keeping an eye on the prisoner. The prisoner agrees to abide by certain terms and conditions for a specified period, (Cole and Smith 521).
Prisoners who are granted the parole status usually have good records and potential for growth and rehabilitation during the term of their imprisonment. Historically speaking, Captain Alexander Maconochie, an administrator of British penal colonies in Tasmania and elsewhere in the South Pacific was an important personality in developing the concept of parole in the nineteenth century. Maconochie acknowledged that prisoners could pass through stages of increasing responsibility and freedom (Cole and Smith 521).
Contemporarily speaking, parole was introduced in England and Wales in the . Up until the mid-1980s, the philosophy of releasing prisoners before the end of sentence remained generally unchanged. All prisoners would have remission and their sentence reduced by one third on beginning their custodial sentence. Also, prisoners could be released on parole for part or all of the middle third of their sentence and until the end of that period they would have supervision in the community, (Ellis and Marshall 300-301). The 1986/7 Carlisle Committee recommended major changes to the system and most of the Committees recommendations were incorporated into the 1991 Criminal Justice Act. This Act was implemented in October 1992 and thus, a new system of early release was established.
Globally, parole is practiced in many countries. The philosophies are very different, dictated by many varying racial and cultural aspects. When paroles are implemented, there are a number of advantages that could be realized for the mutual benefits of both the prisoner and the society. Overcrowding in prisons is manageable due to reduced population of prisoners. General trends indicate that the prison population has grown during most years.
Since the , the rate of growth rose from an average of 2.5% per year between 1945 and 1995 to an average of 3.8% per year since 1995 (Ministry of Justice Statistics Bulletin 4). By the beginning of 1995 the number of prisoners stood at 49,500 and by January 2009, this number had increased to 82,100 inmates. The increase in the rate of growth resulted in a 66% increase in the prison population.
Other benefits of parole include among others, the reduction of incarceration costs. Successful rehabilitation programs of parolees are likely to reduce crimes and correct the criminal behaviour. Reintroduction of parolees back to society is possible and if she or he is able to maintain good behaviour, then normal life can continue. The parolee is an independent person that is able to earn a living. This way, dependence on others and the state is reduced or eliminated.
This is a contribution to the economy. Many parole programs include trainings for the prisoners to acquire or enhance their skills. This has a to both the society and the economy. If the parolees are able to employ themselves by participating in income earning activities, the countrys unemployment level is reduced. Parolees who regain acceptable social behaviour can be examples to other prisoners who would learn from them and in turn become corrected in their wayward criminal activities. This reduces supervision burdens on parole officers (Carter 60).