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Conditional suspension of an offender's sentence upon the promise of good behaviour and agreement to accept supervision and abide by specified requirements. It differs from parole in that the offender is not required to serve any of his sentence. Those convicted of serious offenses and those previously convicted of other offenses are usually not considered for probation. Studies in several countries show that 70 to 80% of probationers successfully complete their probation; additional limited evidence suggests that recidivism may be less than 30%.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on probation, visit Britannica.com.