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Parole Panel Voting Options in Texas

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Parole Panel Voting Options in Texas

Are you or a loved one serving time in a Texas jail or prison? After months or years of incarceration, the potential for a parole hearing is welcomed news. Having a successful parole hearing could mean the difference between being stuck behind bars and finally getting the freedom to live on the outside.

Before your hearing, there are a few things you need to know about that can help improve your chances of a successful parole panel vote. Find out the details about how the parole process works, the factors that will be considered and the parole panel voting options below.

How the Pre-Vote Parole Process Works in Texas

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Parole Division begins analyzing each inmate about six months before their eligibility date. Each person is subject to a strict review process, and the victims who were impacted by your crime will be notified about your situation.

In the following weeks, you can expect the parole board to interview any victims that wish to come forward. Understand that moving victim testimony could significantly impact your hearing. They’ll also pull your file to review your crime and actions since.

Often, you’ll have a one-on-one meeting with the parole board for an interview. Consider this meeting your best opportunity for showing the board how much you’ve changed and how willing you are to be better once you’re free.

Next, members of the board will review all the information and vote on how they believe your parole case should proceed. The best-case scenario is getting votes that approve your parole. You can learn more about the different voting options available to the board below.

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What Factors Will be Considered in my Parole Case?

As the board reviews your case, they’ll examine several factors. Some factors are static, which means they won’t change over time, and others are dynamic. Here are the factors the board will review:

  • Your age when you were convicted
  • Your prior incarcerations
  • The type of crime you committed
  • Your employment history prior to being imprisoned
  • How old you will be at the parole hearing
  • Your behavior while in prison
  • Your current prison custody level

There are a few other things that make a difference during your review. When you committed your crime, were you a confirmed gang member? Are you still involved in a gang? If so, then this will work against you during your hearing. When you’ve gone through vocational or educational programs behind bars, though, it will work in your favor.

During this review, you’ll be given points for each of these factors. Inmates who receive a low score are considered a low threat. They’re more likely to have their parole granted. The next step involves a parole panel vote.

What Are the Parole Panel Voting Options?

Each parole panel consists of three people. Most often, these three parties are two parole commissioners and one parole board member. These members are tasked with scrutinizing each parole case and making a very significant decision.

While it may seem like a simple yes or no decision, each member has a multitude of voting options available to them. In short, you’ll either be approved or denied. Each approval or denial vote is attached with a recommendation. Here’s a comprehensive list of the parole panel voting options:

  • Vote FI-1: Recommended release, Approved
  • Vote FI-2: Recommended release at a future date, Approved
  • Vote FI-3R: Recommend rehabilitation program prior to release for three months
  • Vote FI-4R: Recommend rehabilitation program prior to release for four months
  • Vote FI-5: Recommend transfer to In-Prison Therapeutic Community Program
  • Vote FI-6: Recommended release to a DWI program
  • Vote FI-6R: Recommend rehabilitation program prior to release for six months
  • Vote FI-7R: Recommended release to rehabilitation program prior to release for seven months
  • Vote FI-9R: Recommended release to rehabilitation program prior to release for nine months
  • Vote FI-18R: Recommended release to rehabilitation program prior to release for 18 months
  • Vote CU/FI: If the offender was given consecutive sentences, then he’ll be given parole once he served the time he would’ve served with a single sentence.
  • Vote RMS: Approved release to a mandatory supervision program
  • Vote NR: Denied. You’ll be given a set-off date
  • Vote SA: Denied, and no review date is set
  • Vote CU/NR: Denied. Set-off date is set between one and five years.
  • Vote CU/SA: Denied. Inmate ordered to serve all of the sentence
  • Vote DMS: Denied. Set-off date is set one year in the future.

These different votes all have different implications. If you need additional help decoding why the parole board denied you and what they’ve recommended, then it’s best to reach out to an attorney who can help.

What Happens If I’m Denied Parole?

Texas prisons are notoriously dangerous. If your parole is denied, then you’ll be sent directly back into population. The board will provide specific reasons for why you were denied and give you a new review date. This new review date is called a set-off. Most often, it falls about one year from your previous vote.

Depending on your circumstances, you may have an opportunity to appeal the parole board’s decision. Be aware that most decisions don’t fall under the following circumstances, so you’ll have to wait until your next hearing. Here are the limited reasons you could appeal:

  • An administrative file processing error occurred
  • The board failed to take into account new information

You need to make your decision on whether or not to appeal quickly. If you wait too long, then your requests for an appeal may get denied entirely.

When you’ve been denied an opportunity at getting released, it can be a major blow to your outlook. Rather than get discouraged, seek out your best options by reaching out to an attorney. An attorney can help you make major steps towards getting an approval vote next time. This may include recommending certain programs while incarcerated.

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Are You Ready for Your Parole Hearing?

If you’ve been notified about your upcoming parole hearing, then it’s important to start mentally preparing as soon as possible. It’s normal to feel a little nervous about the pending vote but knowing all about the parole panel voting options will help you have some peace of mind.

Are you unsure of how to present yourself to the parole board for the best possible outcome? Would you benefit from having a knowledgeable attorney fighting on your behalf during the meeting? If you’re interested in learning more about how a lawyer can help you, then don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact the Law Office of Greg Tsioros now through our online contact form or by calling us at (832) 752-5972.

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