Parole, a suburb of Annapolis, is a census-designated place (CDP) in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States. The population was 15,922 at the 2010 census. It is where several major roads intersect at the western edge of the state capital, Annapolis, and adjacent to the Annapolis Mall shopping center and Anne Arundel Medical Center. The neighborhood was named because it was a parole camp, where Union and Confederate prisoners of war were brought for mutual exchange and eventual return to their respective homes.
The first parole camp was put at the Naval Academy in 1862 but was quickly outgrown. A new camp was erected at what is now the intersection of Spa Road and Forest Drive, followed by a third camp at what is now Annapolis Towne Centre.
The Union-run camps in Maryland held Union soldiers who were to be exchanged for Confederate prisoners. Initially, prisoners on each side were “paroled” and allowed to go home on the condition they not rejoin their military units and return when a prisoner exchange between the two sides had been arranged.
Many paroled soldiers returned home and could not be accounted for when exchanges were arranged. That prompted the creation of parole camps to ensure prisoner swaps could be conducted as planned.
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