The words “parole” and “probation” need to be understood correctly before examining whether the abeyance of the constitutional rights of an individual on parole is justified or not. The two words are different in meaning, though mostly used to mean the same thing to the public. Parole is the freeing of a prisoner before the expiry of his or her term of the sentence (Siegel, 2015). The release entails a period of observation by parole officers and ends when the parolee abides by the terms or conditions imposed by the US Parole Commission over time. On the other hand, probation is the period of correctional supervision of an individual in the community. Probation is normally an alternative to incarceration. From the definitions, it is explicit that parole and probation are an act of grace by the state to inmates and offenders respectively. Parole and probation are not a constitutional right to any given individual.
Persons under parole are considered as inmates and have to adhere to the code of conduct according to prisoners. One of the stipulations according to an inmate released on parole is that he or she should not interact with any other known felon in the community (Gaines & Miller, 2015). The main purpose of putting an inmate on parole is to ascertain whether he has changed or not. The environment around a parolee matters as far as his freedom is concerned. The chances are that an inmate on parole is likely to commit a crime if allowed to mingle with other known felons or persons with a history of a felony. It is, therefore, necessary that a parolee refrains from being in contact with other felons. On the other hand, it is normally difficult to stay out of contact with family members regardless of whether they are felons or not, and the state government is fully aware of the issue. It only becomes a violation when the family member is also a felon on parole or one who is actively involved in criminal activities. If the family member successfully served his or her parole in full, there is no problem when he or she comes into contact with another family member on parole.
As said earlier, probation or parole is not the right of inmates rather they are privileges. Additionally, parolees are considered to be at high risk of committing another crime because of the uncertainty regarding their full rehabilitation (Abadinsky, 2014). Some materials normally forbidden as far as the exclusionary rule is concerned can be used to return a parolee to prison. For instance, the case of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation v. Scott is a perfect example that reiterates the rationale for holding a prisoner’s constitutional right in abeyance. Before Keith M. Scott got parole, the Board of Parole in Pennsylvania categorically stated that Scott ought to refrain from being in possession or owning weapons of any kind. Later on, officers learned that Scott violated the condition and proceeded to search his house without a search warrant from the court. During the search, some firearms, as well as a bow and arrow, were uncovered from Scott’s house leading to a parole violation hearing (Cole, Smith & DeJong, 2013). In his objection, Scott stated that the search was unconstitutional as far as the Fourth Amendment was concerned. The objection was overruled, and the weapons that had been seized were accepted in the case as evidence. Nevertheless, on Scott’s appeal to the decision, the Supreme Court went ahead and granted the Board certiorari in the case that consequently led to Scott’s return to prison. The case is enough proof that the federal exclusionary rule stops being in operation during a parole revocation hearing, which reiterates that parolees are denied some of the rights that free individuals enjoy.
Abadinsky, H. (2014). Probation and parole: Theory and practice. New York, NY: Pearson Education.
Cole, G. F., Smith, C. E. & DeJong C. (2013). Criminal justice in America. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Gaines L. K. and Miller R. L. (2015). Criminal justice in action: The core. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Siegel, L. J. (2015). Criminology: Theories, patterns, and typologies. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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