Frequently Asked Questions

How Parole Eligibility Is Determined

  • Q: What dictates an inmate's eligibility for parole or mandatory supervision?
    • A: An inmate's eligibility is governed by the law in effect on the date the offense's first element was committed, with laws frequently changing and affecting eligibility and the process for release.

Factors Influencing Parole Decisions

  • Q: What criteria does the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles consider when deciding on parole?
    • A: The Board considers a broad range of information, not limited to the specific offense, including dismissed charges, criminal history, behavior while incarcerated, participation in programs, compliance with rules, and the level of family and community support.

The Parole Board Voting Process

  • Q: How does the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles conduct its voting for parole?
    • A: The Board votes on cases by reviewing the offender’s file, without the offender typically seeing the voting members, with decisions made based on the review by assigned voters and potentially a third if opinions differ.

Understanding Parole Guidelines

  • Q: What are parole guidelines and how do they affect parole decisions?
    • A: Established to provide minimum release criteria, these guidelines assess the offense's severity and the likelihood of a successful parole outcome, giving each offender a score to aid the Board's decision-making, though Board members have discretion to deviate from these guidelines.

Mandatory Supervision Explained

  • Q: What is "Mandatory Supervision" and how has its application changed?
    • A: Originally, inmates were released to supervision once their served time plus good time credits equaled their sentence. Changes now allow the Board to review such cases and potentially deny release if not in the public's interest, making "mandatory" release discretionary in some cases.

The Parole Revocation Process

  • Q: What leads to parole revocation, and what is the revocation hearing process?
    • A: Parole can be revoked for reasons such as new offenses or violation of parole conditions, with a process that includes hearings to determine probable cause and the validity of the alleged violations, followed by a decision on the continuation, modification, or revocation of parole.

Legal Representation for Parole Proceedings

  • Q: Is legal representation necessary for parole proceedings?
    • A: While not required, and many proceed without it, having experienced legal representation can be beneficial. Only Texas-licensed lawyers may represent offenders before the Board, so it's important to select an attorney with specific experience and expertise in parole matters.