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Loved One Up for Parole? Here’s How You Can Help

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Loved One Up for Parole? Here’s How You Can Help

  • Parole, Parole Representation
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Do you have a family member who is, or soon will be, eligible for parole? You can increase their chance of being granted parole significantly. 

You can take an active role in helping them hire an attorney, providing support to the inmate through letters for their parole packet, and encouraging them to maintain good behavior while in prison.

Simply by being there and involving yourself in the inmate’s welfare can provide positive results.

What Is Parole?

Parole is an early release from prison into the community. Parole is granted at the discretion of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. While many Texas inmates become eligible, not all are granted parole. 

Parole might be granted once the inmate is eligible if they have observed and adhered to the rules of the prison, agree to obey local, state, and federal laws, and will not jeopardize public safety and welfare. Also, they must promise not to promote disrespect for the law or the criminal justice system.

Inmates eligible for parole are assessed according to a risk assessment instrument that guides the parole board members and commissioners in determining whether to grant parole. 

Various factors affect the inmate, both those that don’t change and those that do (static and dynamic factors). Those factors are judged against the severity class of the offense, resulting in a code for the Board to use.

You can determine when an inmate should become eligible for parole and start planning at least a year before the eligibility date to hire an attorney and begin work on the parole packet.

Considering applying for parole?
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The Parole Review Process

The Parole Board sends a notice to the inmate and the victim’s family members, attorneys, and other trial officials that a specific inmate is eligible for parole. 

The Institutional Parole Office performs an initial interview with the inmate as part of the case summary prepared for the Parole Board. A leader selected from seven board offices in the state conducts a board review of the inmate’s life summary and prison file.

There is no board interview like the ones you see on TV or in the movies. The only time the entire Parole Board interviews an inmate is if the victim or the victim’s family specifically requests it. An attorney can also request a Board interview if the required paperwork is filed on time. 

Once the Board reviews the documents, including any parole packet developed by the inmate, it decides whether to grant parole or deny it.

How You Can Help Your Loved One Improve Their Chance of Parole

An inmate’s life is severely restricted. Even when they want to make an impact on the parole board, they are limited in what they can do, and the time they have to do it. A family member can expedite many of those processes.

Hire an Attorney

An experienced parole attorney can review the inmate’s case and time behind bars to determine the probability of parole once the inmate becomes eligible. A meaningful way to help is to find an attorney to provide the best outcome for the inmate.

Ask the prospective parole attorney:

  • How long have you been doing parole work?
  • Do you only do parole work or take on other types of cases?
  • How do you analyze the case of an inmate up for parole?
  • What do you do to learn more about the inmate’s background and case?
  • Do you prepare a written parole packet for the inmate?

The longer an attorney has been performing parole work, the better they can guide you through the process. Suppose they also take on cases such as defending offenders in court and help them during sentencing. In that case, they have a well-rounded understanding of the criminal justice system

If the attorney works on cases unrelated to criminal justice, they may not have the experience or time to adequately prepare the inmate’s packet and present it to the Parole Board.

Never hire an attorney that guarantees or makes promises about the outcome of the parole case. Guarantees of this kind are unethical and impossible to make.

Contact parole lawyer Greg Tsioros today»

Help Prepare the Parole Packet

A parole packet is not required to gain parole but can significantly enhance the inmate’s chances. The very act of preparing a parole packet shows the Board the inmate’s initiative, concern for family finances, and willingness to participate in their own life.

A parole packet contains:

  • An introductory letter from the inmate to the Board
  • A parole plan outlining what the inmate intends to do once released that will keep them out of trouble
  • The inmate’s criminal, educational, employment, and substance abuse history and any spiritual development
  • A goal statement and a penance statement
  • Support letters 

An attorney can help the inmate prepare everything except the support letters. That’s where you come in. You can help the inmate gather support letters from employers and others who show that the inmate has a place to live and work once released.

The Board wants to see that the inmate is prepared to live legally and peacefully in the community. Support letters help the inmate show the Board that the potential parolee has a job and housing waiting. The more details the letters can provide the better.

For example, perhaps the inmate plans to enter a halfway house. A letter from the establishment’s administrator stating that space awaits the parolee supports that plan. 

If the inmate expects to continue treatment or education, letters from a treatment center or acceptance letters from educational institutions lay the foundation.

The attorney you hire can help you determine who to ask for support letters and the information each should contain. 

Encourage Good Behavior and Accepting Opportunities for Betterment

From the time the offender goes into prison, their behavior impacts their chances for parole eligibility. It’s easy for them to feel angry and helpless to affect their lives while incarcerated.

Find ways to encourage the inmate to engage in good behavior while in prison. Good conduct time is the best way to shorten the time to parole eligibility. 

Good conduct includes more than good behavior, like following the rules and staying out of trouble. It also includes taking advantage of educational and vocational training provided by the prison.

Taking classes shows that the inmate is actively participating in developing a better life for themselves. Obeying rules shows the Board that the inmate can follow the law.

In Summary

You can help an inmate prepare for parole and even enhance their chances.

Hire an experienced parole attorney, help the inmate and attorney create a thorough parole packer, and encourage the inmate to follow the rules and take educational opportunities as they become available. Help them maintain their spirit in the face of adversity so the Parole Board can see sense in granting parole.

Greg Tsioros is an experienced parole attorney who can help you ensure your loved one has the best chance for release.

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