A story that’s gained a major public interest recently is the case OJ Simpson, who according to US law has been granted parole. While many of us may understand parole, owing to the face that it crops up in several popular Crime/TV series – the law in the UK and US is very different.

US Parole grants a prisoner release from prison under conditions of good behaviour and certain rules before they’ve completed their maximum sentence.

While under parole, they must follow strict rules such as obeying the law, not meeting with victims, whether or not they can get a job and restrictions on alcohol and drug usage.

So how is that different in the UK?

Parole in the UK has much more a broader meaning.

Firstly, parole can only be applied for if you have a fixed term sentence and if you have a lifetime sentence then the government can apply on your behalf.

The parole board will then decide if you’ll get a hearing – if you’re entitled to legal aid you’ll get legal representation, or you’ll have to represent yourself or pay for a lawyer.

So, what does parole mean?

If you’re granted parole, you’ll either be released under supervision. Known as probation or ‘on licence’.

Or you could be moved to a more open prison, with lower security and unlocked cells.

If you’re granted parole, your case will be re-reviewed after two years.

When can you apply for parole?

You can apply for parole up to 6 months before your sentence ends. (for prisoners with a fixed term or extended sentence)

If you have a lifetime sentence, then the government automatically applies for parole for you. all you need to do is fill out forms and make your face to be granted parole.

So, what is probation:

While on probation, you’re still serving your sentence, however, you’re on parole and may be asked to do work that is unpaid, meet with your ‘offended manager’, get treatment for an addiction or complete an education or training course.

If you commit an action during probation that you’re barred from doing, then you could go back to court or prison.

If you miss meetings or appointments without good reason or behave in an aggressive manner this could also land back in prison.