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What is the difference between probation and parole?

Probation is a type of criminal sentence that allows a person to stay in the community rather than serve time in prison as long as he or she complies with certain conditions (like regularly reporting to a probation officer, refraining from alcohol and drugs, holding down a job, not associating with certain people and not committing further crimes). Parole is the supervised release of a prisoner from incarceration into the community before the end of his or her sentence or after a period of imprisonment has been completed. Conditions of parole are often similar to those of probation.

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