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Working with Your Parole Officer after Your Release

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Working with Your Parole Officer after Your Release

When you are granted parole from prison, you have a unique opportunity to serve out the remainder of your sentence in the community. Between the time you are released until your sentence ends, you will be on parole.

As a parolee, you will be under the supervision of a law enforcement official assigned to your case. You can satisfy the terms of your parole by knowing how to work with your parole officer.

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The Purpose of Parole

Parole is more than just completing your sentence out in the community. It also involves the official supervision of offenders from prison.

As a parolee, your release from prison is conditional and dependent on how well you meet the requirements set by the parole board and your parole officer. Depending on your situation, you may be required to complete certain milestones before you finish your sentence. These requirements can include:

  • Getting a job
  • Undergoing counseling
  • Taking part in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
  • Registering as a violent or sex offender
  • Going to school

These requirements will be agreed upon prior to your release from prison. Your parole officer will keep a record of this approved written plan for your life as a parolee on record to ensure you are meeting them in a timely manner.

The Duties of Your Parole Officer

You may be more inclined to work well with your parole officer by understanding his or her duties. The primary duty your parole officer has is to supervise you as a newly released offender into the community. They will be responsible for making sure you find a place to live, get a job, and enter into programs for mental illness or drug or alcohol rehabilitation if necessary.

Overall, your parole officer will help you create an individual plan that you should follow until your sentence is fulfilled. You will meet with this officer on a regular basis so your progress can be monitored and evaluated.

If necessary, your parole officer will conduct drug or alcohol tests on you either at the parole office or at home. He or she will also go with you to doctor’s visits and court hearings. The parole officer will communicate with your employer and counselors regarding your progress.

You can make the process of meeting your parole officer easier by knowing what is expected of you. By meeting these standards, you could finish your parole satisfactorily and possibly be released from parole early.

Know When to Meet with Your Parole Officer

Perhaps the most important requirement you will be expected to meet involves knowing when to meet with your parole officer. The frequency and location at which you will meet this individual will depend on the crime of which you have been convicted. If you are a violent offender, you may need to meet with your parole officer more often than non-violent offenders.

Many offenders are only required to meet with their parole officers on a monthly basis. This meeting may take place in the offenders’ homes or at the parole office.

However, violent offenders especially those supervised at the maximum level in the community may have to meet with their parole officers up to 15 times per month. Many of these visits take place at home or at the parole office. Others involve drive-by meetings at home or at work. One visit per month typically involves verifying the offenders’ addresses.

You will be informed about how often you should meet with your parole officer prior to your release from prison. You also will be told if you will need to meet with this person at home or at the office of the parole officer.

Know What to Bring to Your Parole Officer Meetings

Along with knowing how often to meet with your parole officer, you also will need to know what to bring with you to each meeting. Your parole officer may require you to bring proof of your job or residence, for example. You also may need to show proof that you are in school or undergoing counseling. If you fail to comply with this burden of proof, you could be sent back to prison.

Anything positive about your life you can prove in your meeting with your parole officer will work to your favor. The officer has to ensure you are not a risk to society and that you are trying to become a productive and contributing member to the community.

If you are able to substantiate positive claims about getting an education, going through drug or alcohol rehab, undergoing counseling for mental illness, and other good aspects of your life, you could be recommended for early release from your parole. You also could avoid going back to jail if you incur an infraction during your parole.

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Be Pleasant and Friendly

You also should be friendly and as pleasant as possible when you meet with your parole officer. You undoubtedly may be on edge or feel nervous when you attend these meetings. After all, your freedom could depend on the findings of your parole officer.

Regardless, if you are pleasant to work with and friendly during your meetings, you may be granted more leeway during your parole. If you have parole violations like missing a counseling appointment or losing your job, you may be given another opportunity to correct it rather than being sent back to prison. Your parole officer may be more inclined to let small infractions slide if you avoid being angry, stubborn, or disagreeable with them.

Keep Written Records

You should also keep a paper trail of all of your meetings with your parole officer. Even if this officer is friendly, accommodating, and honest, you still need proof of what went on during the meetings in case you ever have to go to court.

When you are before a judge, it will be your word against the word of your parole officer. You should keep a record of your communications by saving all of your emails that you send to him or her. Even if you meet with the parole officer in person, you should follow up with an email confirming what was discussed in the meeting. This paper trail will help substantiate your claims if you need to go to court during your parole.

These tips can help make your meetings with your parole officer more successful. You could avoid going back to prison by incorporating them into finishing your sentence in the community. You may even be recommended for early release from parole.

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