Some prisoners receive an early release from prison, called parole. A parole board determines if the prisoner is ready for release into the community. The parolee must abide by certain terms and conditions of supervised release. Parole absconders fail to report to the parole officer and fail to advise him of the parolee's whereabouts.
Some states, such as New Jersey, have stricter definitions for proving parole absconder status. New Jersey includes the following criteria: the criminal's eligibility for parole, the parolee's intentional hiding or fleeing the state, and the parolee's intentional avoidance of parole. In New Jersey, missed appointments with the parole officer are not enough of a reason to consider a parolee an absconder. She must intentionally hide from the parole officer or abandon her residence without notifying the parole officer.
Parole terms and conditions require that the felon report to the parole officer as directed, usually once a month. In addition, he must advise his parole officer of his address, which must be approved by the parole officer, and he may not move without the parole officer's permission. He must maintain gainful employment and keep his probation officer advised of his work situation, including all contact information.
Reasons to Abscond
The parolee may be using drugs and may abscond to avoid detection of her drug use. She may have committed a new crime or crimes and run to avoid arrest. She might have a legitimate reason, such as an ill relative out of state or out of the county, and become so preoccupied with her relative's health issues that she is willing to risk later arrest to visit or care for her relative. The list of reasons a parolee decides to abscond can be numerous and the courts assess them on a case-by-case basis.
Consequences of Absconding
Parole absconders face a variety of consequences, and the courts consider all relevant circumstances surrounding the violation, especially the parolee's behavior while he was away from supervision. Sometimes, the absconder may need to attend treatment, especially if his actions were substance-abuse-related. Other times, his parole may be extended to the maximum time allowed by law. Generally, the parole absconder will be returned to prison since he has shown he cannot comply with the requirements of community release.