The number of adults on probation or parole in the United States continued its long decline through 2014, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reported Thursday. An estimated 4.7 million adults were under correctional community supervision on Dec. 31, 2014, down 45,300 offenders from a year earlier. It was the seventh consecutive year of declines, with total numbers down by about 400,000 since 2008.
The trend includes modest increases in parole that have been offset by large declines in probation. Probation is a court-ordered period of supervision in the community, generally used as an alternative to incarceration, and parole is a period of supervised release following a prison term. Between 2008 and 2014, the probation population fell 10 percent, while the parole population increased nearly 4 percent. The 2014 figures show that the annual probation population decreased by 46,500 offenders (from 3,910,600 to 3,864,100 offenders) while the parole population increased by 1,700 offenders (from 855,200 to 856,900 offenders).