Parole Supervision for Life vs. Probation – What’s the Difference?

Being convicted of certain crimes in New Jersey puts you in a situation where you have to deal with parole supervision for life, also known as “PSL.”  The following crimes carry PSL:

  1. Aggravated sexual assault;
  2. Aggravated criminal sexual contact;
  3. Kidnapping pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(c)2;
  4. Engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of a child pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a);
  5. Endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(b)3;
  6. Luring; or
  7. An attempt to commit any of the above-mentioned offenses.

PSL is set forth in N.J.A.C. 10A:71-6.12 and in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4. 

PSL pretty much means what it sounds like – you will be on parole and have to abide by the terms and conditions of parole and a parole officer for the rest of your life, or for at least fifteen (15) years, at which time you may ask the court to be released from parole supervision.  However, the judge decides if you will be released from PSL and there is no guarantee or right to be released after that time frame.

What is required of an individual on PSL will be different for each person, but it always includes the requirement that the individual remain free from new arrests or charges, mandatory reporting to the parole officer, living at an approved residence and obtaining permission from the parole officer before moving, obtaining permission before leaving the state, the prohibition against owning firearms, maintaining a drug-free lifestyle, cooperating in medical or psychological examinations, random, anytime drug and/or alcohol testing, and other mandatory terms and conditions.  In sum, parole supervision absolutely interferes with an individual’s life and liberty.

In contrast, probation in some cases does not greatly interfere with a person’s daily routine or activities.  Also, unlike PSL, probation is not for life – it’s for a set amount of time, usually a period of months up to five (5) years.  The terms and conditions may vary from person to person, but you can reasonably expect at a very minimum to have to check in with probation, to remain arrest and offense free, and to pay any and all fines.  Probation in theory is supposed to be a means of helping to rehabilitate a person who has been convicted of a criminal offense so that he or she does not commit a crime again.  Unlike PSL, probation applies to a much greater variety of criminal offenses – for example, a person charged with a third-degree controlled dangerous substance (CDS) offense might be sentenced to probation. 

If you are charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, don’t hesitate to call Nancianne Aydelotte, Esq., at (856) 617-6700 for a consultation.