Blogs by PROD: Special Parole Conditions
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IntroIn a previous blog, we went over some of the general parole conditions that any parolee can expect to face upon release from prison. These conditions are standard across the board for convicted felons on parole and include items such as reporting to your parole agent, informing them of your residence and work addresses, asking permission before traveling over 50 miles, not owning a gun, etc etc. However, you may not be aware that some parolees might also face certain special conditions of parole. Parole is designed as an opportunity for a prisoner to transition back into society and the restrictions on parolees are supposed to encourage good behavior after incarceration/prevent reentry. This blog will focus on the most common special conditions to be set.
Special Parole ConditionsOne common stipulation is that the parolee cannot drink alcohol. This generally extends to prohibiting possessing it as well, which you should be aware of since a probation officer or police officer can search you or your dwelling anytime without cause or a warrant. In some cases, the court may also extend this order to prohibit you from even being present at a bar or in some cases, any location with a liquor license. It depends on the wording of your court order, for example "Defendant shall not frequent or be found in any place serving alcohol" vs. "Defendant shall not enter any place whose primary purpose is serving alcohol." If the first, you should not even go to restaurants that serve alcohol. If it is only the second, your limitation applies to bars only.
Bobby Shmurda is an example of a famous parolee who has this as a special condition for him. Often, this condition serves a twofold purpose. First, it can be to prevent someone from falling back into alcohol abuse if they are an alcoholic or if alcohol was a factor in their original offense. But in addition, being banned from bars/drinking can also be a tool to keep a parolee from falling back into old habits and in with the criminal type people they used to hang out with before.
A requirement that a person on parole or probation refrain from consumption of alcohol is very common and standard with some county probation departments, so it is not necessarily even due to your original charges in all cases. Essentially, you will know this rule is in place if (a) the court made it a special condition of the person's sentence or (b) if the judge directed the person to abide by any and all directives of the parole/probation office and the parole/probation officer had as a condition of release that the person refrain from alcohol consumption or possession.
Another common special condition is to submit to drug testing. Generally, parole departments use the 5-panel drug urine test, which analyzes a urine sample for marijuana, cocaine, PCP, amphetamines, and opiates. Many probation drug testing requirements also add alcohol to the 5-panel test, to ensure compliance with the special condition outlined immediately above. Drug testing requirements are most often utilized with parolees who have a history of substance abuse, and while your drug testing requirements depend largely on your specific case, history, and probation or parole officer, it’s critical that you adhere to the rules – otherwise you will be at serious risk for returning to jail or prison.
Another common special condition could be that the parolee must attend/participate in mental health treatment. Research to date is inconclusive on whether or not mental illness is a risk factor for criminal behavior; despite this, individuals with mental health problems generally fare worse on risk assessment tools employed in justice decisions. Mental health treatment can help reduce recidivism and has an added aim of protecting the public by continuing rehabilitation outside of the confines of prison.
Our last example of a relatively commonly applied special parole is necessitating that the parolee wear a GPS tracking device, usually in