A person sentenced to state prison in the State of California can do his/her time in one of two ways. Incarcerated or on parole. Parole is that period of time between one's release from state prison and the time their sentence is finished. California has the largest parole population in the country. California has about 117,000 people on parole and about 17,000 of them are PALS ( Parolees At Large ). The recitivision or return to prison rate in California is around 83%. That means that about 83% of people that go to prison once go back for a second trip.

The shortest amount of time a person can be on parole is one year. The longest amount of time is life and the average is three years. Parole is mandatory unless specified by the court. Refer to penal code sections 3000 - 3089. The period of time spent on parole will be supervised by a Parole Agent. For conditions of parole see Training Articles on this web page. The Parole Agent has three basic types of case loads:

  • High Control
  • Control Service
  • Minimum Supervision

About 80 % of parolees come out of prison to Control Service. Before being released from prison, the parolee signs the conditions of parole form. This form states his conditions of parole and he/she is agreeing to abide by these conditions. If he/she does not, then the state can revoke the parole status and return the parolee to custody.

Parole vs Probation: There are a few differences between parole and probation. Parole is mandatory, probation is voluntary. One is placed on parole by the CDC and placed on probation by the court. 

See the FAQ section for recent changes in the law affecting parolee searches



Prior to conducting a parole compliance check follow the checklist to assure a safe and legal search.

1.         Check with the agent of record:

A.     Confirm the subject is on active parole

B.    What is the parolees commitment offense

C.    Find out if there are any special conditions of parole

D.   Inquire if any other agency has any active cases on the subject that you may interfere with if you conduct a search

E.   How long has it been since the last parole compliance check

F.   Invite the agent to assist on the search


2.         Conduct a background on the parolee. Some of the following can be done when contact is made with the parole agent:

A.   Criminal history

B.   Are there any wants or warrants. Run a check yourself

C.   Is he a runner or a fighter

D.   Does he have a history with weapons

E.   Interior floor plan of the residence of record

F.   Known associates who may be at the location

G.  Cooperative or uncooperative family members that may be in the residence

H.   Vehicles the parolee may drive

I.    How many strikes does he have if any

J.   Obtain a picture if possible

K.  Contact any “war rooms” for your county to confirm that no active narcotics cases are current at the location


3.          Conduct a pre-search briefing:

A.   All personal that participate in the search must attend the briefing

B.   Each Officer must have handout packets of the needed information
(picture, criminal history, floor plan etc…)

C.   Make personal assignments at briefing. (entry team, search team, search team  assignments, evidence collection)

D.   If Corrections personnel participate assure they have proper communication equipment


4.         While conducting the compliance check:

A.    Secure all occupants outside the residence

B.    Confirm what room the parole lives in

C.   Confirm all rooms that are “common living areas”. These are the rooms the parolee is allowed to occupy. (living room, kitchen, dinning room, bathrooms, other bedrooms other than his own etc….) If he is allowed in other bedrooms they are subject to search as common living areas. If he is allowed in other rooms find out why he is allowed in those rooms. If he is not allowed in other rooms they are not subject to a parole search.

D.   Interview other occupants of the location separately as to the living arrangements to identify common living areas and parolee activity

E.   Assure all search team members know the scope of the search

F.   Run other occupants for wants/warrants and parole/probation status


5.          Motel room searches:

A.   If the motel room is not the parolee’s residence of record then a nexus or connection between the room and the parolee must be established prior to a parole compliance check

B.   Common connection sources are; parolees name on room registration, room key in parolees possession, self admission, admission of another, statement of desk clerk, parolees property in room

C.   After the search of the room is completed a search of the residence of record should be conducted if possible


6.         Vehicle parole compliance checks

A.   Determine ownership of the vehicle

B.   If the parolee is a passenger then as a rule of thumb the scope of the search is the immediate area around the parolee. This usually means arms reach

C.   If the parolee is driving another’s vehicle then the scope of the search is the entire vehicle

D.   If by chance the parolee is driving and the owner is a passenger then it would be immediate area (remember that legal standing takes precedence over physical control)

E.   Remember to separate and interview at the scene. You may gain information that will widen the scope of your search


After every parole compliance check do not forget to advise the agent of record of the results of the search AND complete a Supervised Release File Contact Message.

For more info contact:

Sergeant Ken Whitley,
P.O. BOX 2623
Corona, CA 92878-2623
or e-mail


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