Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Parole is both a procedure by which a board administratively releases inmates from prison and a provision for postrelease supervision. The term comes from the French parole , referring to “word,” as in giving one's word of honor or promise. It has come to mean an inmate's promise to conduct himself or herself in a law-abiding manner and according to certain rules in exchange for release. Chief credit for developing the early parole system usually is given to Alexander Maconochie (1787–1860), who was in charge of the English penal colony at Norfolk Island, almost 700 miles off the coast of Australia, and to Sir Walter Crofton (1815–1897), who directed Ireland's prisons. Maconochie criticized finite prison terms and developed a system of rewards for good conduct, labor, and study. Through a classification procedure he called the “marks system,” prisoners could progress through stages of increasing responsibility and ultimately gain freedom. Under ...