What is the difference between mandatory & discretionary conditions?

Federal law governs the mandatory conditions of federal probation (the law breaks it down into a list of mandatory conditions (required) and discretionary conditions (not required).[912]

    Mandatory conditions are the rules that judges must impose.
    Discretionary conditions are the rules that judges can, but do not have to, impose.

If a judge wants to impose a discretionary condition, he or she MUST find that the condition reasonably relates to sentencing factors,[913] and is reasonably necessary for the purposes of supervision.[914]

The only difference to note is that intermittent confinement may be imposed as a condition of probation during the first year of federal probation. Intermittent confinement means temporarily going into Bureau of Prisons (BOP) custody for a night, a weekend, or possibly for a longer period of time.[915]

  1. 912

    18 U.S.C. § 3563.

  2. 913

    See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) (listing the sentencing factors Judges must consider when imposing sentence).

  3. 914

    18 U.S.C. §§ 3563(b); 3583(d), 3583.

  4. 915

    18 U.S.C. § 3563(b)(10).