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Frequently Asked Questions about Parole

Probation and Parole are both types of community supervision. Jurisdiction over probation belongs to the sentencing Court. Jurisdiction over parole belongs to the Board of Parole (BOP). The Department of Correction (a separate agency from BOP) provides the supervision for both probationers and parolees in the community. Convicted offenders may either be released on probation by the Court; or sentenced to serve time in a jail or prison and subsequently become eligible to be released on parole by the Board. The initial decision about sentencing all offenders is made by a Judge, in compliance with the laws of the State of Tennessee. Decisions to issue a warrant, revoke or reinstate the community supervision status, are made about probationers by the Court, and about parolees by the Board. While on probation or parole, offenders must generally reside in a certain location, be employed and obey particular rules called "conditions". The offender being supervised is to report to, accept advice and instructions from, and maintain contact with a TDOC Probation/Parole Officer.


Probationers who have been released but who violate the conditions, must go back to the sentencing Judge, who may decide to revoke the probation status and send the offender to prison to serve the full suspended sentence, with no credit given for time on probation. If successful on probation, offenders must continue reporting to the P/P Officer until the Judge releases them from the obligation.


Parolees must have served at least the amount of penal time required by a given sentence, been certified as eligible by the Tennessee Department of Correction for a hearing, and been scheduled for a hearing before the Board. Some offenders are granted release to serve the balance of an indeterminate or unexpired sentence under supervision, while others are not approved for parole release. Parolees are subject to having parole revoked and being returned to prison to finish their sentences, if they violate conditions.



  • What is the Board of Parole and What does the Board do?


  • What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?


  • What is Determinate Release?


  • What is Community Corrections?


  • What is the Interstate Compact?


  • What is the Sex Offender Registry?


  • Why do some offenders live at unknown addresses?


  • What is private probation?


  • What is the DNA registry?


  • Why do offenders on community supervision have to pay fees?


  • Why doesn’t the Board of Parole consider offenders for parole sooner?


  • Who determines when an offender is eligible for parole?


  • What factors do Board Members consider when deciding whether to grant parole?


  • Who is notified when parole hearings are to be held?


  • Are parole hearings open to the public?


  • What are the reasons for denying parole?


  • Can a grant of parole be denied just because someone objects to it?


  • Can offenders be released on parole even if they don't have a place to work?


  • Why can’t an offender be released to an out-of-state location if that is his or her home state?


  • Can an offender be granted parole and his or her co-defendants be denied parole?