Parole and Furlough


Parole is an administrative scheme under which a convict is released after serving some part of the sentence awarded to him and the release is not the result of any court decision. If an offender released on parole is found to have improved and has abstained from criminal conduct, he gets remission of the rest of the sentence and for sometime at least a part of the sentence.

Parole shares some of the characteristics of probation. Both have to be selective, based on a thorough study of the personality and environment factors of the offenders, and both envisage provision for guidance and supervision. However, there are basic differences between probation and parole. To release on probation is a judicial decision whereas parole is purely an administrative action. Another point of difference is that in probation, the offender, after being found guilty, is released without sending him to jail but in case of parole a convict is released after serving some part of the sentence awarded to him.

The State Governments have their own rules on parole. However, with a view to preserving a basic uniformity of approach in the country a set of Model Parole Rules have been framed by the Central Advisory Board on Correctional Services.

In the development of the scheme of parole in India, the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Md. Giasuddin v. State of Andhra Pradesh is a milestone. In this case the apex Court inter alia directed the Government to release the appellant on parole. The Court observed:

…“We have given thought to another humanizing strategy, viz., a guarded parole release every three months for at least a week, punctuating the total prison term. We direct the State Government to extend this parole facility to the appellant, Jails Rules permitting, and the appellant submitting to conditions of discipline and initiation into an uplifting exercise during the parole interval. …The State will not hesitate, we expect, to respect the personality in each convict in the spirit of the Preamble to the Constitution and will not permit the colonial hangover of putting people behind the bars and then forget about them.”

Thus, in post-independence period efforts have been made to bring about qualitative improvement in the working of correctional services.

What is furlough?

Generally, Furlough is a leave from prison that every convict is entitled to. A prisoner is entitled to be released on furlough for 14 days in a year. However, he may seek a 14-day extension by citing reasons for it. For this, the prisoner has to submit an application to the prison superintendent. The 14-day leave from prison is treated as a “reward” and is accounted for as a part of the prisoner’s jail sentence.

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