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Preparing Your Parole Packet

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Preparing Your Parole Packet

Anyone who becomes incarcerated that hopes for parole should prepare a parole packet. 

An appropriately assembled parole packet shows the parole board that you are taking an active part in gaining parole, and it helps your case stand out amid the substantial volume of parole cases reviewed by board members every month. 

Parole packets are not required for making parole, nor does the board require it. However, by putting one together, you show initiative, concern for your family’s finances, and willingness to participate in your own life. These are all qualities that tell members of a Parole Board that you can succeed after your release.

Who is eligible for parole? What is in a parole packet, and when should you put one together? Find out the answers below.

Parole Eligibility

You are eligible for parole if you have reached the eligibility date set by your conviction requirements and the legislative statutes governing your conviction. 

The time you must serve to become eligible for parole varies according to the offense. It can be a percentage of your time served or a specific number of years. If you were convicted of a non-aggravated offense, the Parole Board might calculate your eligibility date.

Furthermore, you must be in the “good-time earning” category when you first came to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC). That would be a state-approved Trusty IV or a Line Class I.

Other factors that enhance your possibility of parole include:

  • Avoiding major disciplinary cases.
  • Preparing for your parole hearing much earlier than the eligibility date.
  • Participating in educational or vocational training while in prison.

Schedule a consultation with parole attorney Greg Tsioros »

The Parts of a Parole Packet

Like any file, your parole packet is split into sections that contain specific documents. The overall file should have a logical sequence that takes the parole board through your offense, what you did while incarcerated to improve your life, and how you expect to live on the outside.

Introductory Letter

Your first document is an introductory letter that asks the Parole Board for parole. Include your date of birth, age, height, weight, and hair color. Also, provide details about the reason for your incarceration with dates, felony levels, and the maximum discharge date, among other things.

Tell the board how much time you have already served and provide statistics about offenders with the same offense as yours for comparison.

Parole Plan

Your parole plan outlines your expectations for living once released from prison. Include the following information:

  • The name, address, and phone number of the person you are planning to parole to, such as a parent or someone else you will stay with while getting your life back together.
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of people offering you employment, so the Parole Board knows you have a job when you leave that will reduce the chances of re-offending.
  • A description of your expected living and work situation.
  • Confirmation that you have transportation when you leave prison.

The Parole Board will feel more confident knowing that you have people who can help you get back on track.

Criminal History

It isn’t a comfortable subject. After all, the parole board already knows your history. But it would help if you touched on the details. Be sure to express remorse if someone was hurt when you committed the offense. Repeat your remorse even if it’s in your introductory letter.

You may wish to address all your convictions even though any juvenile records are sealed, and non-convictions are not part of the reason for your incarceration.

Disciplinary History

If you faced any major disciplinary action, speak to the cases by admitting fault and expressing thoughtful remorse. Include the fact that you accepted the punishment as just and that you served without complaint. 

If you have significant periods without discipline, highlight them as well.

Educational History

If you earned any degree, certificate, or other recognition for learning, include it. Refer to your educational attainment before coming to prison, and then refer to any in-prison education. Include a few lines about every degree or certificate earned. If you complete a vocational course, describe it, when you were in it, and some details even if you didn’t finish it. 

If you haven’t taken any courses, talk about books you are reading or watching the news every day. Provide proof that you are trying to better yourself. 

Employment History

First, talk about the jobs you had before prison, especially if you held a responsible position. Emphasize these jobs first. Then describe any prison jobs you held, including the duties you fulfilled. If you spent time in the fields, find a way to put a positive spin on it. 

Substance Abuse History

If you were convicted of a drug crime like possession or admitted to using drugs when committing your crime, write down why you used drugs, why you sold drugs, and whether you stole to buy drugs. Then show that you joined AA or Narcotics Anonymous or other treatment you received and the concepts you learned to help you stay clean.

Spiritual Development

Even if you aren’t religious, show you developed an understanding of how to be in society and have done some self-examination. If you are religious and attend church, talk about what it means to you.

Tell the board you understand there are moral foundations that everyone has, and you have discovered how to live with yours. 

Goal Statements

Writing down goals is an essential first step for realizing them. It makes them real.

Write a different set of goals for the time you spend after parole, from immediate goals to goals after three days, a month, three months, six months, and a year. Goals and a plan to reach them give you a vision to achieve.

Penance Statement

Tell the board members you understand the damage you caused and commit to helping others in your community avoid the path you took. Talk about any classes that help you reach that goal.

Support Letters

A support letter is from a person who knows you well and can provide the board with an idea of the people you have to help you.

Get letters from family, friends, and former and potential employers if possible. Quality is better than quantity. Don’t get letters from everyone in the congregation; get one great one from your pastor.

Round out the packet with awards you received, community resources you can use, and a picture of you, where you will stay once released, and people who are there to support you.

Contact parole lawyer Greg Tsioros today»

A Final Note

Make the packet neat. It doesn’t have to be typed if you don’t have access to a computer or typewriter. Create a cover page with your name and TDJC number. Create a table of contents. Put everything in a binder if possible, and create three copies.

One copy is for your records. One is to take with you to the parole interview. The last is to mail to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

If you need assistance assembling a parole packet, find an attorney willing to visit you in prison that knows what to include. Your friends and family may not have the best idea. To learn more, contact Attorney Greg Tsioros today.

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