Parole and probation are both terms used for punitive measures after the conclusion of a trial. Parole is the release of an individual from prison, on the condition that the individual is supervised by a court officer. Probation is a criminal sentence not connected to imprisonment. Probation is often the sentence for a first offense or a less serious offense. An individual on probation must generally meet certain terms and conditions to stay within the community. Probation has a pending sentence hanging over the person like a sword of Damocles, while probation is a form of serving the imposed sentence in the community instead of in prison.