Is there a difference between probation and parole?

Yes: there is a difference between probation and parole. Parole is a form of conditional release and supervision following an offender’s release from prison. Probation is supervision for offenders not sentenced to prison. Probation is the alternative to a prison sentence. Probationary sentences can be quite long — up to 20 years in some cases, while parole is usually much shorter because offenders have already served the bulk of their sentence in prison.