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Parole and Furlough

  • 28 Mar 2023
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

Recently, Supreme Court of India ruled that the period of parole granted to convicts during the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent overcrowding in prisons and avoid the risk of spread of infection, cannot be counted as part of their actual sentence period.

What is Parole and Furlough?

  • Parole:
    • It is a system of releasing a prisoner with suspension of the sentence.
      • The release is conditional, usually subject to behavior, and requires periodic reporting to the authorities for a set period of time
    • Parole is not a right, and is given to a prisoner for a specific reason, such as a death in the family or a wedding of a blood relative
    • It may be denied to a prisoner even when he makes out a sufficient case, if the competent authority is satisfied that releasing the convict would not be in the interest of society.
  • Furlough:
    • It is similar to parole, but with some significant differences. It is given in cases of long-term imprisonment.
    • The period of furlough granted to a prisoner is treated as remission of his sentence.
    • Unlike parole, furlough is seen as a matter of right for a prisoner, to be granted periodically irrespective of any reason, and merely to enable the prisoner to retain family and social ties, and to counter the ill-effects of prolonged time spent in prison.


  • Both parole and furlough are considered as reformative processes. These provisions were introduced with a view to humanizing the prison system.
  • Parole and furlough are covered under the Prisons Act of 1894.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. With reference to India, consider the following statements: (2021)

  1. When a prisoner makes out a sufficient case, parole cannot be denied to such prisoner because it becomes a matter of his/her right.
  2. State Governments have their own Prisoners Release on Parole Rules.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only 
(b) 2 only 
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither I nor 2

Ans: (b)

Source: IE

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