How to Get Off Probation Early in Pennsylvania

By Noreen Wainwright

In Pennsylvania, matters relating to probation service are under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. A person who commits a criminal offense may be placed on probation at the discretion of the judge. This is normally seen as an alternative to prison. A person may be sentenced to probation rather than prison if the crime was not considered to be very serious or if the judge felt that a community sentence was more appropriate. Prisons are crowded, and some people consider them to be "schools of crime," where even more criminal behavior can be learned. Probation does restrict the individual's freedom, but it also gives the offender a chance to choose a different path in life.

Spend your time on probation constructively. Probation officers often act as mentors and advisers to the offenders allocated to them. They are trained to help people find a more constructive way of life. Comply with all the conditions imposed by the court. These are likely to include regular contact, which may or may not be face-to-face, and stipulations about travel and work. You may also have to provide urine samples to be tested for drugs, and you may need to pay fine payments. You will not get early release if you do not comply with these conditions.

Arrange a meeting with your probation officer to specifically discuss your wish for early release. It will help to have constructive reasons for this request. For some people, they need to show that they have been granted early release to demonstrate to future employers that they have made an effort to really change previous behavior patterns.

Write a letter to the court or the judge, but only if your probation officer agrees with your application. Though early release will be granted or denied by the judge in your particular county in Pennsylvania, she is likely to accept the probation officer's recommendation. Ask for the probation officer's help to prepare and file a motion, if this is a requirement in your county. Discuss positive aspects of your situation with him; for instance, you may have had a job or college placement offer. This may be accepted as a valid reason to request early release.