These two can easily be confused if you’ve never had experience with the Utah criminal justice system. Here is the difference between probation and parole in Utah.
Probation is part of a person’s sentence. It allows the offender to be released into the community rather than serving their sentence in a jail or prison. A judge sets conditions on the offender that the offender must follow if he wants to stay on probation. If the offender violates the conditions of his probation, a judge can order the offender to prison to serve the rest of his sentence. It is much better to be on probation than in prison.
Parole is similar to probation, but slightly different. Parole is the release from prison before an offender completes his sentence. Often, parole is granted if the offender was well behaved in prison and the Board of Pardons and Parole (who grants parole) thinks that the offender can be released into the community. Offenders on parole are subject to strict conditions established by the Board of Pardons and Parole and are assigned a parole officer while on parole. Like probation, if the offender violates the conditions of his parole, the Board of Pardons and Parole can order the offender to return to prison.
The biggest difference between the two is that probation is part of sentencing by a judge, and parole is imposed by the Board of Pardons and Parole after an offender has served a prison term.