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Q & A Probation

Probation in criminal law is a period of supervision over an offender, ordered by a court instead of serving time in prison.

In some jurisdictions, the term probation only applies to community sentences (alternatives to incarceration), such as suspended sentences.[1] In others, probation also includes supervision of those conditionally released from prison on parole.[2]

An offender on probation is ordered to follow certain conditions set forth by the court, often under the supervision of a probation officer. During this testing period, an offender faces the threat of being sent back to prison, if found breaking the rules.

Offenders are ordinarily required to refrain from possession of firearms, and may be ordered to remain employed, abide to a curfew, live at a directed place, obey the orders of the probation officer, or not leave the jurisdiction. The probationer might be ordered as well to refrain from contact with the victims (such as a former partner in a domestic violence case), with potential victims of similar crimes (such as minors, if the instant offense involves child sexual abuse), or with known criminals, particularly co-defendants.

Additionally, the restrictions can include a ban on possession or use of alcoholic beverages, even if alcohol was not involved in the original criminal charges. Offenders on probation might be fitted with an electronic tag (or monitor), which signals their whereabouts to officials. Also, offenders have been ordered to submit to repeated alcohol/drug testing or to participate in alcohol/drug or psychological treatment, or to perform community service work.
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