offenders under Parole supervision
is the release of an inmate from prison prior to his or her sentence’s maximum date, but after the minimum sentence date, to continue serving the balance of the sentence under supervision in the community. Parole is a conditional release that requires parolees to abide by rules that do not apply to other members of society.
In Pennsylvania, parole is a privilege, not a right. Pennsylvania has both state and county level parole systems. Which system an offender is in depends on the length of the sentence given when the offender was convicted. If the sentence was 24 months or longer, it is a state sentence and the Parole Board makes the decision whether to grant parole and determines the conditions of parole. If the sentence is less than 24 months, it is a county sentence and the sentencing judge makes the decision.
Probation is a sentence that does not include a period of incarceration; it is served in the community rather than jail. The sentencing judge always makes the decision regarding an offender’s probation conditions and violations. However, a judge may request that the Parole Board supervise certain county offenders
with the judge retaining decision making power; these are known as “special probation” cases.
Parole is also different from a pardon or a commutation. The Governor may grant a pardon (clemency) or commutation of a sentence if the Board of Pardons
, which is separate from the Board of Probation and Parole, recommends that one be granted.