Most parole jobs focus on overseeing criminal offenders who have been released from jail before serving their entire court-imposed sentences. There are several different types of jobs involved in this oversight process, with parole officers being the most common. Other parole jobs include serving on, or working for, a parole commission and handling parole cases as a lawyer.
One of the most important parole jobs is that of a parole officer. The officer is charged with ensuring that a criminal offender makes a smooth transition back into society. Parole officers are usually assigned to multiple cases at once, and they often specialize in working with only adults or juveniles.
Officers are responsible for supervising a released offender and ensuring that the offender adheres to any conditions established by the parole commission. One of an officer's key tasks involves regularly meeting with a parolee at the parolee’s place of employment or residence. Officers may also help released offenders find jobs and secure housing. In some cases, they will assist offenders with obtaining education or training. Parole officers are usually required to document a parolee's progress and provide the commission or court with regular reporting.
A number of parole jobs are created as a result of parole commissions or boards. A parole commission is responsible for administering the parole process. Most boards hire professional staff to help them with legal matters, hearings, clemency, the parole process, and an assortment of administrative duties.
Commission members collectively decide whether or not a particular inmate is approved to be released from jail early. On a case-by-case basis, the commission may also choose to impose certain terms and conditions on a released inmate. Additionally, the commission may be tasked with responding to violations of release conditions. If a parolee is not adhering to release conditions, the commission may choose to revoke the parolee’s privileges and return him or her to jail. In many jurisdictions, commissions are required to develop and adhere to specific criteria for making decisions about who is eligible for early release.
Lawyers who work in criminal law make up an additional set of parole jobs. A parole lawyer ordinarily reviews an offender’s case to determine whether the offender has a reasonable chance of being approved for parole. If the lawyer believes the offender has a solid case, he or she will file any paperwork required for parole. In addition, the lawyer will advocate on behalf of the offender in front of a parole commission or judge.