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What Is the Difference between Parole, Probation, and Community Corrections / House Arrest?

The terms parole, probation, and house arrest are often confused. While they are all alternatives to incarceration, there are distinct differences between these forms of sentencing. If you are facing a criminal charge and have questions or concerns about parole, probation, or house arrest, an experienced Nashville criminal defense attorney is standing by to help.


Parole refers to a condition of release from jail or prison for someone who is already doing time. Only the Tennessee Board of Parole (BOP) can grant parole – after a hearing by the hearing officers. If paroled, the convicted person is released from incarceration and is supervised within the community by a parole officer.

If the parolee is charged with another crime – or otherwise breaks their conditions of parole – their parole officer can request that their parole be revoked. This requires serving out the remainder of the original sentence. In Tennessee, only those who have served part of their original sentence are eligible for parole.


Probation is a condition associated with plea agreements or sentencing hearings for criminal convictions. Instead of spending time behind bars, the convicted person is placed under the direct supervision of their probation officer. Probation can also be employed as part of a sentence, which means, for example, that an individual may need to spend one year of a two-year sentence behind bars and the last year of the sentence on probation.

Typically, probation is awarded and supervised by the presiding judge. The kinds of violations that can end probation and send the individual back to jail to fulfill the original sentence in its entirety include all the following:

  • Failing a mandatory drug test
  • Failing to meet with the probation officer at the scheduled times
  • Failing to perform the requisite number of community service hours
  • Being arrested while on probation

Community Corrections / House Arrest

Community Corrections or House Arrest is also referred to as electronic monitoring, and it’s a form of alternative sentencing that fits the convicted person with an ankle bracelet that monitors their movements in the community. When the court determines that the offender in question is better positioned to rehabilitate within the confines of the community, house arrest may be sentenced. The electronic monitoring device submits an ongoing signal to the central monitoring system, and the probation department is alerted if the individual in question wanders outside the permissible range.

Turn to an Experienced Nashville Criminal Defense Attorney for the Help You Need

If you’re facing a criminal charge, bringing your strongest defense is key, and Andrew Beasley at Andrew C. Beasley, PLLC, in Nashville, is a seasoned criminal defense attorney with a wealth of experience and legal insight that stems from his background as a former prosecutor who is well prepared to skillfully advocate for your case’s most favorable resolution. The outcome of your case is important to your future, so please don’t put off contacting us online or calling us at 615-620-5803 for more information about what we can do to help you today.

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