Probation and parole are two forms of criminal punishment in the United States. While both are alternatives to jail or prison, they are quite different from each other. Probation is a court-ordered period of supervision for a person who has been convicted of a crime but not sent to prison. Probation typically involves regular meetings with a probation officer, complying with a curfew, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and maintaining employment or attending school. Parole, on the other hand, is a form of early release from prison. The individual is released from prison before their sentence is complete, but is still under supervision by a parole officer. They must adhere to certain conditions, such as meeting regularly with their parole officer, maintaining employment or schooling, and refraining from drugs and alcohol.