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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Federal Supervised Release Explained: Probation After Prison

By Spodek Law Group | October 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 09:44 am

Federal Supervised Release Explained: Probation After Prison

For many people leaving federal prison, supervised release is the next step. Also known as probation, supervised release means you are released from prison but still under monitoring and restrictions. It might sound better than being locked up, but make no mistake – supervised release is still a form of punishment and control.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about federal supervised release. We’ll cover how it works, the rules you must follow, how to get off supervision early, and what happens if you violate the conditions. Our goal is to educate you on the process so you can make the best choices during this difficult transition period.

How Long Does Supervised Release Last?

Congress sets the authorized terms of supervised release based on the offense:

  • Class A Felony – 3 to 5 years
  • Class B Felony – 2 to 5 years
  • Class C or D Felony – 1 to 3 years
  • Class E Felony or Misdemeanor – 1 year maximum

The judge picks a term within those ranges. They often just go with the maximum. For example, someone convicted of a Class B felony would likely get 5 years of supervised release.

Keep in mind the supervised release term starts after you are released from prison. So if you get 5 years prison plus 5 years supervised release, your total time under corrections control could be 10 years.

Violating Supervised Release

The biggest consequence for violating your supervised release conditions is being sent back to federal prison. Any violation can trigger revocation, but common ones include:

  • Positive drug test
  • Failure to report to your probation officer
  • Leaving the district without permission
  • Lying to your probation officer
  • Getting arrested for a new crime
  • Associating with people engaged in criminal activity
  • Possessing firearms or other prohibited items

If you are accused of a violation, the judge will hold a revocation hearing. If the judge finds you violated, they can:

  • Send you to prison for up to the full supervised release term, no credit for time already served on supervision
  • Impose more restrictive conditions like home confinement or GPS monitoring
  • Verbally reprimand you or give you a “second chance” with a warning

Federal law imposes mandatory revocation penalties for certain violations like guns, violence, or repeated drug use. Otherwise, it is within the judge’s discretion. Expect to serve around 18 months in prison if your supervision is revoked.

Tips for Getting Through Supervised Release

Here are some final tips for making it through supervised release:

  • Take it one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed looking at the full term.
  • Build a good relationship with your probation officer based on mutual respect.
  • If you feel tempted to use drugs or break the rules, stop and think about the consequences first.
  • Surround yourself with positive people who will support your rehabilitation.
  • Ask your probation officer questions if you don’t understand a rule or condition.
  • Set goals for your employment, education, family, health, finances, etc. to keep making progress.
  • Deal with stress in healthy ways like exercise, meditation, prayer, journaling.
  • Remember supervised release does eventually end! Focus on getting to that finish line.

We hope this overview has prepared you for federal supervised release. It’s not an easy road, but taking it one step at a time and keeping the end goal in mind will help you get through it successfully. Don’t let past mistakes define your future – you got this!

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