What is federal supervised release?

In the federal system, supervised release (sometimes also called special or mandatory parole) is a preliminary period of freedom for recently released prisoners. It’s imposed at the time of sentencing, and is for the prisoner to serve after completing his or her prison sentence.

During federal supervised release, a probation officer supervises the convict. A former prisoner who violates the conditions of supervised release may be sent back to prison, potentially to remain there until the end of the supervised release term. (For more detail, see  When can federal courts change or revoke probation and supervised release?)

Supervised release differs from both probation and parole, though the three share some similarities and are often confused.

Probation, like the other concepts, is a form of conditional freedom. Judges may impose it in lieu of time behind bars. (Check out Nolo’s  Probation  topic page.)

Parole  is a form of early release from prison after inmates have served a portion of their prison sentences. Considering in part behavior while behind bars, parole boards determine whether to grant parole. (For more, see Nolo’s  Parole  topic page.)

The federal government uses supervised release in lieu of parole. (See “Is there a federal parole system?”)

Supervised release  in the federal system  isn’t a privilege granted after a defendant’s incarceration. And it doesn’t take the place of prison time. Rather, it’s a period of oversight that a judge imposes, but that the defendant doesn’t serve until after prison.

For much more information in this area, see  Probation and Supervised Release in Federal Court.

Talk to a Lawyer

Start here to find criminal defense lawyers near you.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
FEATURED LISTINGS FROM NOLO
Swipe to view more
DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS

Talk to a Defense attorney

We've helped 95 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you