Probation is what occurs when a criminal offender has been released into the community under supervision. It is the most common form of criminal punishment. Approximately 61 percent of the people who are convicted of crimes are sentenced to probation. Parole is what occurs when a criminal offender has already served some portion of his prison sentence, and has been permitted to serve the rest of his sentence in the community with supervision. There are advantages of probation and parole over criminals serving their sentences in prison.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Approximately 61 percent of people convicted of crimes are sentenced to probation. Parole is granted after a criminal offender has already served part of his prison sentence and is permitted to serve the remainder of his sentence under supervision.
Probation and parole are advantageous as they are only a fraction of the cost of housing the offender in a detention facility. Corrections costs taxpayers 68 billion dollars per year. Implementing alternatives to standard incarceration is one way to mitigate these costs. In order for probation and parole to be advantageous in terms of cost, it's essential that they be managed efficiently.
Another distinct advantage of probation and parole is that they help address the issue of overcrowded prisons. Offenders who are placed on probation are generally not violent criminals. Some offenders who are released on parole are considered violent offenders, but ideally they are not released until careful consideration has been given to the dangers of releasing them into the community. By utilizing probation and parole, beds are freed up to house violent criminals, which is beneficial to society as a whole.
When probation and parole are managed well, they can reduce recidivism rates by close to 30 percent. Recidivism is when the criminal offender re-offends after being released from prison or jail. Reducing recidivism rates is important, as it can ultimately reduce the overall crime rate and increase the safety of citizens.