It is not practical for the legal system to incarcerate all convicted felons for maximum sentences.  Consequently, the U.S. justice system operates community control programs whereby felons are released early from their sentences, under specified conditions.  Additionally, judges may grant some convicted individuals conditional release from serving prison time, so long as they follow a prescribed protocol with a probation officer, for an established period of time. 

At various points in the parole or probation process, various members of the legal community may be interested in having the individual undergo a psychological evaluation.  Sometimes, this is to ascertain any potential underlying psychopathology that might negatively influence the individual’s upright behavior as a citizen.  Psychological evaluations can be very useful to parole officers as they often must make difficult judgment calls about whether or not remand their convicts back into prison.  Having some objective psychological evaluation data can be useful in order to help undergird what otherwise might become a “gut feeling” decision.