How to Lookup a Parole Violation
Parole is a term you’ve heard dozens of times on television, in the news and maybe even from friends and family members. While it’s a familiar term, many people don’t truly know what parole is or what it means. Even fewer people understand the ins and outs of the system and how to handle tasks like looking up a parole violation.
If you or somebody you know is out of jail on parole, understanding the system will have a vital impact on you and what a parole violation means. Law enforcement officers, attorneys and even court clerks need to understand parole too. Whatever reason you’re reaching parole, you can use this guide to learn more about the parole system, violations and ways to find pertinent information about yourself or others.
What is Parole?
Parole is basically a temporary release from prison that aims to allow prisoners to reenter the free world before their prison sentence is up. While the prison sentence is not commuted or simply forgotten, parolees no longer have to stay in jail. However, they are still considered to be serving time, and for that reason, there are often severe restrictions on what a parolee can and can’t do because of their criminal record.
That’s because being released from jail on parole is conditional. Before release, a parolee is required to agree to certain terms put forth by the state. These can vary, but they typically include a wide range of things. Some of these are obvious – like staying away from criminal enterprises. Others may be less obvious, and many states don’t allow parolees to do things like drink alcohol even in moderation.
In some cases, an inmate may be granted medical parole, which is similar to compassionate release. Generally, individuals who are released from prison on medical parole are ill and need greater care than a prison can provide. Their illness is generally severe enough that they’re not a threat to the population at large as well.
What is a Parole Violation?
Being released on parole allows inmates to get back to their families and begin building healthy, happy lives again. However, somebody released from jail on parole is not free to do anything they please. In fact, the restrictions on parolees may surprise you if you don’t have any experience with the parole system.
When an inmate on parole violates the terms of their release it is called a parole violation. Depending on the severity of the violation, the person may be returned to jail, though this is not always the case.
Common Parole Violations
- Not checking in with your parole office. When released from jail on parole, an individual is assigned a parole officer that they’ll need to check in with regularly. The purpose of this parole officer is to help the individual reintegrate into society, but it also puts a check on prisoners released on parole so the state can keep an eye on them.
- Associating with known criminals or felons. This rule can be hard for many people who have family members and friends from a time in their life before they went to jail.
- Drinking or using drugs. Many states do not allow parolees to use alcohol even though it is legal within the state. Mandatory drug and alcohol testing is common.
- Not seeking or obtaining work. Parolees are required to show proof that they are looking for gainful employment almost immediately after they are released from prison.
- Not obeying the law. This one may seem obvious, but even minor infractions can be problematic if you’re on parole. Typically things like getting a parking ticket won’t a person back in jail, but repeat minor offenses can be an issue.
How to Look Up Parolees
Finding out if somebody you know or somebody who committed a crime against you is out of jail on parole can feel like a difficult task. After all, it’s hard to know where to even start for most people. You have a few options for looking up parolees:
- Look up your county probation office and inquire about a specific individual. Not all counties will provide this information unless you have a valid right to know about a certain person’s parole status.
- Use the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) website. This is designed to help the victims of crime stay informed about their perpetrator’s release or parole status.
- Use a third-party site. Third-party parole search tools are often the fastest way to get information since they don’t require you to visit or check in with a government entity.
Performing a Parole Violation Search
A parole violation can catch a person off guard. In some cases, a reported parole violation may not even be accurate. It could also be the result of poor reporting by a parole officer.
A parole violation search allows the parole to find out about violations and speak with a probation before they are arrested and potentially sentenced. In some cases, doing this may keep the parolee from going back to jail.
How to Perform a Parole Violation Search
- Reach out to the assigned parole officer immediately. By contacting the parole office immediately you may be able to avoid
- Contact a local police precinct. They may be able to tell you if you or a family member has a warrant.
- Use a third-party parole violation search tool. These can get you information quickly so you know where you or a family member stands.
The parole system is designed to help inmates leave prison early and get back to their normal lives. However, it doesn’t always perform as intended, and sometimes violations do occur. If you’re not sure if a violation was committed, using proper search tools can help you, a friend or family member stay out of trouble.
Along with using searches, staying in touch with the assigned parole officer is essential. If in doubt, take the time to check in even if it’s not scheduled. Parole officers would rather hear from released inmates often instead of not at all.