Probation is often an alternative to literal punishment employed by the criminal justice system when it deems a particular offender is either nonviolent (not a threat to society) or unlikely to reoffend. Often, they are paired with more productive forms of punishment such as community service. Probation is supervisory in nature. The subject on probation must abide by the law, remain employed, and usually uphold a strict code of conduct that might include a curfew, educational programs, and regular meetings with a probation officer.
Violation means a steep fine and/or incarceration. There are five basic types of probation. They include intensive, standard, unsupervised, informal, and shock.
Intensive probation usually means home detention. The subject is usually monitored using a GPS ankle bracelet. This form of probation is given to violent criminals, usually after a prison sentence has expired. Often, the subject will be forced to waive constitutional rights due to the obvious infringement on privacy.
Standard probation means that the subject will do little more than report to a probation officer at set intervals. Other conditions might be provided by the judge.
Unsupervised probation means that the subject is not likely asked to report to a probation officer at all. There might be other conditions that apply to this type of probation, but they are carried out or completed by the subject. Typical conditions include a fine or community service or simply abiding by the law for the duration of probation.
Informal probation means that the subject may not have been formally convicted. Following the expiration of the terms of informal probation, charges that led to the probation are normally dismissed.
Shock probation means that a person is taken out of jail suddenly — and prematurely — in order to “shock” the subject into good behavior. The idea is that some convicted criminals will readjust after only a short jail sentence is completed.