Q: What is the difference between probation and parole?
A: Probation is a sentence or disposition imposed by a criminal court or family court. In general, probationers are released in the community without serving a period of local incarceration, although in certain circumstances they may be sentenced to both local imprisonment and probation. The sentence of incarceration is a condition of and runs concurrently with a sentence of probation. Probation is a county function in New York State. The Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (OPCA) provides regulatory oversight and funding to local probation departments. Parole is a portion of a correctional sentence served in the community following a term of incarceration in state prison. For offenders serving an "indeterminate" sentence, the NYS Board of Parole makes decisions whether an eligible state inmate is granted or denied parole. Offenders sentenced to a "determinate" prison term generally are released after serving 6/7 of their sentence. The period of supervised release following incarceration for such offenders is known as "Post-Release Supervision" or parole. Parole is intended to assist offenders in returning to society. These offenders are supervised in the community by parole officers, who are state officials employed by the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Corrections.