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What Is Probation?

When an individual is found to be guilty by a court of law of certain crimes or offenses, he or she may be given a sentencing other than imprisonment. This offender may have only spent a certain amount of time in prison or not at all. This type of sentencing is called probation and may be given in order to limit or define the actions that the offender can do.

When a court orders that an individual be placed under probation, the court provides certain conditions that must be met. If such conditions are not followed by the individual, he or she may be placed in prison. The offender is placed under the supervision of a probation officer who will monitor all the actions taken by the individual. The conditions provided for by the court may include stable employment, curfew, and no firearm possession.

Various kinds of probation exist for the court to impose, depending on the criminal history of the individual, the maturity of the individual, and other information that must be taken into account. Intensive probation, home detention, and GPS monitoring are severe forms of probation wherein every movement is recorded by the supervising probation officer. Standard supervision is a less severe form of probation wherein the offender is required to report at a set time interval with his or her probation officer. Unsupervised probation involves the completion of conditions by the offender without the supervision of a probation officer. On the other hand, informal supervision is placing an individual who has not been guilty of a crime under probation. This may include drug testing or searching.

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