In many countries, judges have the option of putting someone on probation. Instead of serving time in jail, the person will be ordered to follow certain rules, and his or her behaviour will be monitored. This monitoring is only done for a certain amount of time. If the convicted person does not break the rules, while being monitored he or she can avoid another, harsher sentence (for example: spending time in prison). In general, sentences on probation are used for people who committed a crime for the first time, and for crimes that are seen as "less serious".
Probation is also used for people released from prison to help them get back into a normal life. These people might have been released on parole
Common rules[change | change source]
Common rules are to keep away from certain people, for example in the case of domestic violence or to not work with children, in the case of child abuse. Other rules are that people on probation need to have a job, and they must telll the court where they live. In many cases electronic tags are used, to track where people are. The rules can be both that the person needs to do certain things, and also that he or she must not do other things.
Part of the sentence is "on probation"[change | change source]
There are also cases where the verdict specifies that part of the sentence is on probation: If the sentence is one year in prison, the court may for example say: three months in prison, and nine months on probation.