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Types of Texas Parole Releases

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Types of Texas Parole Releases

The Board of Paroles and Pardons in Texas has the responsibility of keeping the general public safe from convicted felons. Under some circumstances, however, people who have served time in prison may be eligible to be released early back into society. Depending on criteria like the amount of time served and the crime for which a person was convicted, an offender may be granted one of the several types of parole release available in Texas.

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Parole Overview

The Texas Board of Paroles and Pardons stipulates that parole is a privilege rather than a right. It must be earned and is only granted to offenders who meet the stringent criteria for it. Further, parole is offered to a select number of offenders under the discretionary and conditional powers of the Board.

If granted parole, an offender would be allowed to serve the rest of his or her time out of prison in the community and under the specific terms established by the parole division in the state. Parolees must report regularly to their parole officers and obey all of the conditions and terms of their early release until they have served out the entirety of their sentences.

Further, parolees must also abide by any special requirements put in place by the board prior to their release back into society. These requirements can include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Sex offender registration
  • Participation in educational programs
  • Intensive supervision
  • Electronic monitoring
  • Participation in an alcohol or drug treatment program
  • Mandatory drug monitoring

In other instances, parole may be granted to people who meet medical guidelines for early release. In particular, offenders who are terminally ill or suffer from mental illness, a physical handicap, or an intellectual development disorder that renders them harmless to society may be given parole from prison.

Mandatory Supervision

Another type of parole release available in Texas is called mandatory supervision. Mandatory supervision is not actually granted by the Board of Paroles and Pardons. Someone released into mandatory supervision does not need the Board’s permission. However, the Board does establish the terms and conditions for mandatory supervision in the state.

This type of parole release is essentially a release from prison to supervision provided by law enforcement for a restricted category of offenders. In particular, it is reserved for offenders whose time served added onto their good credit equals the amount of time to which they were sentenced to prison.

There are three types of mandatory supervision in Texas: minimum, medium, and maximum. With minimum mandatory supervision, an offender must meet with his or her parole officer once a month.

The parole officer assigned to the offender will verify the person’s employment or participation in counseling sessions and also verify the offender’s address within 30 days of moving to a new residence. Likewise, the parole officer has the discretion to make contact with the offender’s collateral contacts, which can include his or her:

  • Spouse or significant other
  • Family members
  • Treatment providers
  • Federal or community supervision officer
  • Employer

The parole officer can also make contact with other people who know the whereabouts and activities of the offender.

Medium mandatory supervision involves the parole officer making contact with the offender at the parole officer’s address on a monthly basis. The officer also must verify the offender’s address within 30 days of moving and also must verify the person’s employment or counseling sessions each month. He or she also can make contact with the offender’s collateral contacts as needed.

Maximum mandatory supervision is similar to medium mandatory supervision. However, it is reserved for offenders who are serving the maximum amount of time in the community minus the time they actually served in prison.

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Quarterly Reporting

Quarterly reporting is a type of parole release that allows paroled offenders to meet with their parole officers every 90 days. To qualify for quarterly reporting, offenders must meet stringent criteria. These criteria include:

  • Being on supervised parole for at least five years
  • Having prior convictions or instant offenses that do not include sex offenses
  • Having a reassessment score of minimum supervision status
  • Being current on all fee payments that are payable each month or prepaid
  • Being and remaining current on all restitution payments
  • Being compliant with all special conditions for parole
  • Having no warrants issued during the current supervision period

Someone who is on quarterly supervision may qualify for an early release if he or she is recommended by the parole officer overseeing the person’s case. The offender must be under current supervision at least 50 percent of the time left on the sentence after release. The person also cannot have any parole violations or parole revoked for at least two years prior to the recommendation for early release.

Super-Intensive Supervision Program (SISP)

The Super-Intensive Supervision Program or SISP in Texas is reserved for violent assaultive offenders. This type of parole release is supervision at the highest level. It involves some type of mandatory electronic monitoring as well as full compliance with 24 hour pre-written schedules that have been approved by offenders’ parole officers.

SISP parole officers undergo specialized training in order to supervise violent offenders who have been released back into the community. They are tasked with supervising no more than 14 SISP offenders at the same time.

They also must make contact with offenders under their supervision 15 times per month. Six of these contacts must be face-to-face meetings with the offender. Six contacts must be drive-bys of the offender’s work or home. One meeting per month must be a residence verification.

Offenders in the SISP parole release must submit to 24/7 GPS monitoring that allows parole officers to determine their location at all times. They also will be supervised around-the-clock if their current or prior conviction involved violent acts, violent acts that resulted in bodily injury, or involved threats of violent acts involving bodily injury. These convictions extend to juvenile convictions as well.

Texas makes available several types of parole releases to eligible offenders. To be granted one of these parole releases, people must meet strict criteria while serving their time in prison. They also must abide by requirements established by the Board of Paroles and Pardons until they have served the entirety of their sentences.

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