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Common Parole Conditions

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Common Parole Conditions

Parole is a privilege, not a right. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles determines whether a prisoner seems capable of reintegrating safely into society, and parole can be canceled or rescinded under a variety of circumstances

While some criminal statutes offer the right to a parole hearing, there is no guarantee that the board will grant parole. Much of the board’s decision rests on the inmate’s behavior while in prison, the type of crime involved in incarceration, and other considerations. 

Parole comes with conditions. If the parolee doesn’t abide by them, parole may be rescinded, and the parolee is sent back to prison to complete their time.

What Is Parole?

Parole is monitored supervision beginning after an individual is released from prison or jail after completing a percentage of their sentence. Parole may be discretionary or mandatory.

  • Discretionary parole – the parolee is released from prison before the end of their sentence to serve the remaining time under parole in the community.
  • Mandatory parole – the parolee is released after the prison sentence is complete and shares similarities with federal supervised release.

The parole board comprises seven members appointed by the Governor and who are given the consent of the Texas Senate.  The board members must have resided in Texas for at least two years before an appointment, and each member holds the position for six years. The terms are staggered, and no more than three members may be former Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees.

Commissioners selected by the Governor assist the board in determining the following:

  • Which inmates may be released on parole
  • The conditions of parole
  • Any modification or withdrawal of parole conditions, including special conditions
  • Which offenders may be released from reporting and supervision
  • Any continuation, modification, or revocation of parole

Suffice it to say that up to 21 people have a hand in parole decisions.

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Who Is Eligible for Parole?

Some convictions make prisoners ineligible for parole by state law. For example, individuals convicted of particularly heinous crimes may be imprisoned with a sentence of life without parole as an alternative to the death penalty. Some inmates become eligible for parole only after a very long sentence.

Once an inmate comes up for parole, their case is reviewed by a panel from the parole board or the entire board. The Governor may also have the option to review parole determinations with the opportunity to reverse the board’s decision.

Once inmates receive parole, prison authorities supervise them through mandatory visits with a parole officer. State parole services may also offer transitional services a parolee may require, such as shelter in a halfway house or intensive mental health care.

Why Does the State Grant Parole?

Parole provides an opportunity for an incarcerated individual to reintegrate into society and helps cut the costs of maintaining a large prison population while keeping the community safe. 

The possibility of parole is an incentive for inmates to avoid trouble while in prison, and parole encourages good behavior once the parolee is released into the world outside the prison. 

Typically, parolees have relative freedom as long as they abide by their parole conditions. They must meet personally with a parole officer periodically and allow the officer to make unannounced visits to their home to ensure they are not violating their parole conditions. 

Common Parole Conditions

Most parole conditions apply to all parolees, although specific individuals may have additional or modified conditions placed on their ability to remain out of prison.

Parole conditions include: 

  • Maintaining employment or continuing education and a residence
  • Avoiding criminal activity and contact with any victims
  • Refraining from alcohol and drug use, although limited alcohol use may be granted
  • Refraining from firearms or weapons possession
  • Reporting regularly and in person to a parole officer
  • Completing monthly reports
  • Abiding by state and local laws and other written provisions
  • Attending drug or alcohol recovery programs
  • Submitting to searches of their residence, vehicle, or person at any time by their parole officer
  • Reporting any instance of arrest within 24 hours of the arrest
  • Remaining within a specific geographic area unless permitted to leave by the parole officer
  • Avoiding others on parole or in a correctional facility

Sex offenders must register with the community and may not live with a person under the age of 18.

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Parole Violations

A parolee may commit major or minor violations of their parole. 

A minor or technical violation, such as using alcohol when prohibited as a condition of parole, may result in stricter or additional conditions instead of parole revocation.

A major violation can result in revocation of parole and a return to prison. A major violation typically means the parolee failed to comply with the original or stricter conditions set by their terms of parole. Parole revocation involves a decision maker, such as the parole board, a judge, or a partial parole board, to consider the circumstances of the violation.

Parole revocation can involve several steps before the parolee returns to prison.

If you are ever in the position of losing your parole privileges:

  • Never sign anything forcing you to acknowledge that you committed a parole violation until you speak with your attorney.
  • Never waive your right to a hearing if you are accused of a parole violation because you could be sent back to prison.

A parole violation may not land you back in jail if you have good legal representation.

Why You Need a Parole Attorney

Just as you needed an attorney when tried for a crime, you need someone experienced with the parole process to guide you to gaining and retaining parole. 

Transitioning into the community can be difficult, especially after a long period of incarceration. The rules of society outside the prison are very different from those on the inside. However, you earned your parole, and it’s up to you to ensure you maintain your freedom. 

Greg Tsioros stands ready to help you keep your freedom and protect your rights. Contact his office for more information and assistance with any parole issue.

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