Parole signifies releasing a prisoner after he has served some part of his punishment in the prison on the condition that he will show good conduct in society.

Parole aims at safeguarding society along with helping an ex-prisoner in re-adjusting himself to live a free and normal life in society. Thus, Parole serves the dual purpose of protecting society and rehabilitating an ex-offender. A Parole Board consisting of parole officers and parole administrators after scrutinizing discharge of convicted prisoners on parole. As this Board consists of reputed members of society they are completely unbiased in their approach. A watchful control over the parolee by the parole officers so that he does not engage in criminal activities. If the parolee poses harm to the public security he can again be put in prison from where he was released on parole. Constructive help, protection, and advice be given to the parolee by providing him suitable employment. This helps in developing confidence in the parolee thereby helping to prevent him from returning to his past criminal life.


J.L.Gillin states that Parole is releasing an offender from a penal institution and the offender still is under the control of the correctional authorities who see that whether the offender is now fit to live freely in the society without any monitoring or supervision.

Dr. Sutherland states that Parole signifies liberating a prisoner from prison or correctional institution on condition that his original punishment given to him by law shall revive if he violates the conditions of liberation.


Parole is granted on the emergency grounds such as the accident or death of a near relative, delivery of a child by the wife of the prisoner, to see any extremely sick member of his family, to attend a close family member’s marriage, grave damage suffered by him due to fire, earthquake, flood, etc.


The main objective behind the parole system is as follows-

  1. To enable the prisoner to maintain his family ties and responsibilities.
  2. To protect the prisoner from the evil effect of continuous prison life.
  3. To enable the prisoner to retain self-confidence, interest in life, and not feel completely isolated from the outside world.


Some of the merits of the Parole system are as follows-

  1. Parole helps in maintain law and order in prison by the prison management as it stops over-crowding of prisoners in jails.
  2. A report made by the All India Committee on Jail Reforms headed by Justice A.N. Mulla provides a premature release of an offender from prison that helps him to adjust himself in the social environment and lead a normal life.
  3. A prisoner realized on parole is no more a burden on the tax-payers money received by the government unlike the prisoners in jail. A parolee can be engaged in some employment for maintaining himself and his family.
  4. Parole gives a second chance to a prisoner to avoid harsh conditions of prison thereby protecting an offender from becoming a hard-core criminal in the company of other criminals.
  5. A parole officer directs the parolee towards living a positive life through pragmatic behavior thereby protecting him from recidivism.


Some of the demerits of the Parole system are as follows-

  1. Although the parolees are the violators of law they are still given a second chance to enjoy the social environment.  Such ex-prisoners who have criminal tendencies may misuse the leniency given to them as parolees.
  2. When a parolee is released he returns to that same place and society where he had committed a crime in past. He may again come in contact with the same anti-social elements living there and thereby continue to commit crimes.
  3. Today, the number of prisoners released on parole is increasing day by day. However, the number of parole officers appointed to supervise the activities of the parolee is limited. This makes the supervision of the parolee by the officer superficial and less effective.
  4. Further, the salaries and other expenses of the parole officers prove to be a burden on the government.


The success or failure of parole generally depends on the following factors-

  1. Parole was administered on offenders who committed crimes against a person to prove to be more successful in comparison to offenders who committed crimes related to property. The latter often resort to recidivism and again start engaging in property-related crimes.
  2. How the family reacts to the parolee after his release from prison plays an important role in shaping his future. The parolee’s family members may refuse to accept him back because of the humiliation suffered by them in society because of him. This might make his return to his criminal past life.
  3. Further, shouldering the responsibility of earning for the family and bearing all the family expenses such as school fees of the children and medical expenses of the old parents might force the parolee to again engage in criminal activities to support his family.
  4. Generally, the first time offenders prove to be good parolees and easily adjust themselves to society. The recidivists, however, sooner or later derogate from conditions of parole and again end up in prison because of bad behavior.
  5. Social status, the educational background also have a direct impact on the success of parole. Parolees who belong to higher socio-economic strata or are educated and qualified respond favorably to parole.
  6. For parole to succeed, it should be administered to those prisoners who show an inclination for good behavior and respect for law and order.

Thus, careful diagnosis of prisoners by trained and qualified parole staff is needed to assess the adaptability of the prisoners to the system of Parole.


Hiralal Mallick v. the State of Bihar-

 In the instant case, the appellant was convicted of an offence under section 326 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment. As the offender was only 12 years of age when he committed the offence the High Court reduced his sentence to 4 years because of the tender age of the accused. The Supreme Court in appeal ordered to release the appellant on parole for reasonable spells to protect his family ties and so that he is not isolated from the world.

Dharamvir v. State of U.P-

In the instant case, the appellant was convicted of murder and was sentenced to imprisonment for life. On appeal, as there was no scope for reduction of sentence, the Supreme Court found the parole system suitable for this case. The Apex Court directed the State Government and jail authorities that such prisoners be allowed to go on parole for 2 weeks in a year throughout their imprisonment if they showed good conduct while on parole.

Gurdeep Bagga v. Delhi Administration

A petition for parole on the ground of illness of mother was made by a convict who was sentenced to life imprisonment was rejected by the High Court by stating that the petitioner was earlier continuously on parole for more than two years and also had two elder sisters to look after the ailing mother. On appeal, the Supreme Court took a lenient view and directed annual leave to the life convict to maintain the unity of the family.


The following requirements help a Parole system to be an ideal Parole system-

  1. The supervision, guidance, assistance to the parolees by the parole officers plays an important role in establishing an Ideal parole system.
  2. Before releasing the prisoners on parole they should be trained, mentally prepared, and advised thoroughly for parole administration.
  3. The parolees after release shall be given an honorable job and favorable surroundings.
  4. The parole officers should take help from various social agencies and voluntary organizations to rehabilitate the parolee within the society.
  5. Parole Boards while appointing its members should be free from any political pressure. The members shall be appointed only based on ability and integrity.
  6. Parole staff supervising the parolee should be vigilant and should immediately respond to the acts of the parolee.


The reformative trend is gaining momentum in the field of penology and prison administration all around the world. In India, there is a lot of emphasis on the correctional method of treatment of offenders in prison as there are many cases of inhuman treatment given to the offenders by the jail authorities. The parole system occupies an important place in the correctional treatment of offenders by narrowing the gap between the rigors of prison life and the free life of the world outside the jail. Indian Courts have generally favored parole for long term prisoners. This gives them a second chance and also helps them to maintain family ties. Many prisoners show their willingness to return to society as law-abiding citizens. Thus, releasing the prisoners on parole as a part of the after-care program not only gives them a second chance to live a free, independent, and dignified life but also helps in their re-socialization.

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