As with our entire corrections system, there is no one size fits all solution. We have to deal with the needs of our society as well as the needs of the parolee. Regardless of what we say the goal of imprisonment is, we must assume that parole is about rehabilitation. That being said, each parolee needs to be rehabilitated in the appropriate manner, again there is no one size fits all solution for all offenders and offenses. There is also the issue of determining that a parolee really should be out on parole. They need to be monitored carefully to see if rehabilitation is really possible.
You can't have parole supervision directed towards one task alone. As other editors above have noted, there is a careful balance that needs to be struck between encouraging, supporting and helping the offender to find a useful role in society on the one hand, and then on the other hand it is important to ensure that such offenders are supervised to keep them from returning to crime. As such, the role of a supervisor is absolutely key in helping rehabilitate offenders.
The primary purpose of the parole system is to return the offender to society on a conditional basis rather than simply throw him/her on the streets. It provides an opportunity to determine if he has truly been reformed, if he is apt to repeat his offense (in which case he would not be paroled) and also allows the corrections system to maintain some degree of control and management over the offender during his early days out of custody. I'm not sure there are any other goals or tasks to which the system could adequately address itself.
I don't think so. I think parole officers should have two main goals- to reorient their felons into society and to prevent recidivism. The goal should be to get them jobs and into healthy living situations, and to make sure they do not commit more crimes.
I would argue that there are at least two goals that parole supervision should be trying to achieve. These are the goals (sometimes in conflict with one another) of helping the convict and protecting society.
One thing that a parole officer ought to be doing is helping the parolee return to normal life. This is good for the parolee because it can be very hard to readjust to regular life after being in prison and it can be very hard to get a job, an apartment, etc, when you are a convict. By helping the parolee, the parole officer can be improving the parolee's chances to lead a normal life and not end up back in prison.
At the same time, however, the parole officer ought to be concerned with protecting society. The officer must be keeping close tabs on the parolee. This is important so that the officer can (as much as possible) prevent the parolee from victimizing any innocent members of society.
Both of these goals must motivate the parole system.