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What is an IPO?

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

What is an IPO?

Just to get this out of the way — for our purposes, an IPO is not an initial public offering on the stock market. 

IPO stands for Institutional Parole Officer. This is someone you need to know because they have a hand in your parole hearing, and they are the only official you will speak with regarding your parole plans. 

The Board of Pardons and Paroles employs an IPO. However, they are not board members and don’t decide whether you are granted parole. Instead, they are in charge of compiling all the required information read by the Board as they determine whether or not to release you from prison and into the parole system.

IPO Duties and Activities

An IPO gathers information about your situation, writes a case summary, and forwards it to the Board of Pardons and Paroles as part of the file used to determine whether you get paroled.

Each inmate eligible for parole who is scheduled to go before the Board sits for an interview with their IPO, whether incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice units, federal correctional facilities, contracted facilities, or county jails. 

The IPO also

  • Verifies your information
  • Processes any status letters that inform you whether you were approved for parole
  • Answers your written and verbal questions
  • Contacts you for acceptable residential plans
  • Conducts parole orientation for new offenders
  • Responds to questions from the public
  • Provides the District Parole Officers with your information

Since the IPO conducts orientation for new offenders, you may have already met one.

Considering applying for parole?
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What Does the IPO Ask During the Interview?

When you have your IPO interview, be ready to answer questions thoroughly and honestly because the interview is the most crucial part of the case summary. There is no reason to be nervous, and there is little you can say that will shock an IPO. Being prepared and as relaxed as possible is in your best interests.

If you have not prepared a parole packet, the information from the interview might be all the Parole Board has to go on. If you and your loved ones want contact with the Board, you must complete a parole packet.  You may have heard it called a parole presentation package.

Assembling an appropriate and neat parole packet shows the Board you are taking an active role in gaining parole. Simply having a packet can make you stand out against the massive number of parole cases the board reviews monthly.

A parole packet is not required, but putting one together shows initiative, concern for your family’s finances, and a willingness to participate in your own life.

A parole packet contains several components:

  • An introductory letter formally asks the Board for parole and includes your birthday, age, height, weight, and hair color. It also contains details about why you were incarcerated, along with dates, felony levels, and the maximum discharge date.
  • A parole plan outlines your expectations for living once you are released from prison, including the name, address, and phone number of the person you plan to stay with while getting settled into life on the outside. It also contains details about people offering you employment, so the Board knows you have a job when you leave, reducing the chance you will re-offend. The parole plan also describes your expected living and work situations and confirmation of transportation when leaving prison.
  • Your criminal history addresses the details of your crime. This is where you need to express remorse if someone was hurt during the commission of the crime, even if you also say it in your introductory letter.
  • Your disciplinary and educational history shows how you did while incarcerated. It tells the Board how well you adapted and whether you took the opportunity to increase your skills or knowledge. If you didn’t complete a course, explain some details of what you learned anyway. If you took no courses, talk about books you read or how you watch the news daily. The goal is to prove that you’re trying to better yourself.
  • Your employment history includes any jobs you had before prison, especially if you had some higher responsibilities. Then talk about prison jobs you held and duties fulfilled.

Your packet also includes the following:

  • Details of any substance abuse history
  • Notes about your spiritual development
  • Goal statements
  • A penance statement
  • Letters of support from people who know you well

Most of the IPO’s questions are answered if you complete the packet. The IPO asks about:

  • Your past criminal history
  • Your education
  • Your employment
  • Your living situation
  • Other matters

Be sure to stress what incarceration taught you, whatever you may have learned about yourself, and how you want your life to go. However, do not minimize or attempt to justify any past behaviors. The IPO doesn’t vote on parole determination but does present all information gleaned from your interactions.

Contact parole lawyer Greg Tsioros today»

Why Do You Need an Attorney?

Hiring an experienced parole attorney ahead of your parole eligibility date allows them to discuss your parole interview with you. Most IPOs are overworked and have little time to conduct their interviews and write comprehensive case summaries. There are only about 200 for the entire state of Texas to interview over 150,000 inmates. 

An attorney like Greg Tsioros can help you put together that all-important parole packet that can support the case summary, which may be overly brief. The Board receives as much information as possible to help them rule in your favor.

Working closely with you and your family, Tsioros will get to know everyone involved in the matter on a personal level and prepare a parole packet supporting your release from prison.

Contact the Law Office of Greg Tsioros today for a free consultation.

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