David L. McCormick

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The basics of parole in Minnesota and how you can violate it

| Feb 8, 2021 | Criminal Law

The United States has the world’s largest criminal justice complex, but incarceration isn’t the only way that courts punish convicted criminals. Courts across Minnesota subject individuals to probation and parole, which allow people to hold down employment, attend school, parent children and otherwise spend time in the free world while being supervised by community officers.

Understanding parole

According to the Pew Research Center, community supervision agencies currently have roughly 4.5 million Americans on their probation and parole rosters. Criminal law courts typically offer probation to defendants as an alternative to jail time. Parole differs in that it’s reserved for people after they’ve come home from jail or prison.

Every state does parole differently. The Minnesota Department of Corrections employs a sentencing system known as determinate sentencing. Unlike in many other states, Minnesota doesn’t use parole boards. Rather than worrying about how the parole board might treat your case, you’ll always get released after spending two-thirds of your sentence behind bars.

How can you violate your parole order?

Every convicted person’s parole conditions differ. However, every Minnesota parolee should expect to follow these conditions for one-third of their original sentence length.

Whether you’ve been convicted of drug charges or not, failing drug screens is a surefire way to violate parole. While on parole, be careful of what you put in your body. For example, even limited amounts of THC can cause you to fail drug screens.

Many parolees move before their sentences end. Always inform your parole officer if you plan on moving. Failing to inform your parole officer of your move is another guaranteed way to violate your parole.

Not sure how to protect yourself against parole violations? Consult a criminal lawyer for help understanding your conditions and communicating with your parole officer.