What Does "Absconder From Parole" Mean?

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An absconder from parole is a prisoner released on parole who drops out of sight, not keeping contact with the court or parole officer.

If someone goes to prison, parole can be an intermediate step between jail and freedom. The parolee is released from jail, but the release is subject to conditions usually including regular appointments with the parole officer. If a parolee simply drops out of contact with the court and the parole officer, he becomes an absconder from parole.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

An absconder from parole is a prisoner released on parole who drops out of sight, not keeping contact with the court or parole officer.

Parole Is a Gift With Conditions

For someone in prison, getting out is the light at the end of the tunnel. Often the first chance a prisoner has to taste freedom is parole. After serving a certain length of a sentence, the prisoner is eligible for parole, a privilege of conditional freedom. If the decision is made to release the prisoner on parole, he is out from behind bars but must live up to a series of responsibilities.

A parolee is usually restricted by a set of conditions designed to keep an eye on him and his progress on the "outside." Breaking any condition can land the parolee back in jail. Common parole conditions include:

  • regular reporting to a parole officer
  • living in a specified area
  • not leaving that area without permission of the court or parole officer
  • advising a parole officer immediately of changes in employment status
  • not owning guns or other weapons
  • accepting home searches by law enforcement , and
  • not breaking the law.

Absconder from Parole

Cities and counties do not have enough police officers to track parolees to be sure they are complying with the conditions of parole. However, parole officers attempt to keep up with them by regular check-in and office appointments. If a parolee goes AWOL, however, it isn't likely the parole officer will know where he went or can assist the police to find him.

An absconder from parole is someone who drops out of contact with the court and/or with the parole officer. She simply doesn't show for an appointment one week, then doesn't answer the phone and isn't seen again. An absconder from parole will be picked up by the police if she is caught for some other offense, like a driving ticket. In that case her parole is likely to be revoked by the court and she will probably return to prison. But if she is never caught, she may remain free for years.

Parole vs. Probation: Both Can Abscond

Parole is distinguishable from probation. A person on parole has been conditionally released from prison; a person on probation has been given probation as a sentence (sometimes with jail time in addition). When either a parolee or a probationer disappears and stops reporting in to the court or his parole or probation officers, he's considered an absconder.


About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.