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What is Mandatory Supervision in Texas?

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

What is Mandatory Supervision in Texas?

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When your personal freedom has been taken away, all you can think about is regaining that status. For most individuals behind bars, getting released is something that they think about every day. 

If you or a loved one is currently serving time, you’re likely wondering about mandatory supervision in Texas. Mandatory supervision involves being released from jail, but still facing certain restrictions.

Are you interested in learning more about what mandatory supervision is, whether you’re eligible and how to comply with restrictions after release? Learn everything you need to know below.

What is Mandatory Supervision in Texas?

Mandatory supervision is a legal term that describes what happens when you’re released from jail and placed on parole. The term mandatory is deceptive, though, because getting released on parole is discretionary. That means it’s a privilege and not a guaranteed right.

 Here’s how the typical process works in Texas. After you’ve been sentenced, you’ll start to serve your time in jail. You’ll be eligible for mandatory supervision once your combined time served and good conduct equal your sentence. In other words, your sentence can be reduced based on your good behavior while behind bars.

Once you become eligible for mandatory supervision, you’ll receive a notification. This notice will let you know when your hearing will be, and it will give you an opportunity to send any documentation or proof of good behavior to the Parole Board.

During the hearing, the board members will review your case. It’s within the board member’s discretion to allow your release before or when you become eligible. They can also deny your release. Learn more about whether or not you’re eligible for mandatory supervision below.

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Are You Eligible for Mandatory Supervision?

 Prior to 1996, mandatory supervision in Texas worked in a different manner. Everyone who was eligible to be released was given the opportunity once their time served and good behavior equaled their sentence. After 1996, Texas lawmakers decided to allow the parole board to deny release when:

  • Releasing the inmate would be a danger to the public
  • The offender’s good conduct doesn’t reflect their ability to rehabilitate into society

In addition to these new terms, Texas also limited who is eligible for mandatory supervision. Now, if you’ve committed certain crimes, you will not be given the opportunity to be released on mandatory supervision. Instead, you’ll have to serve out your entire sentence behind bars. Here’s an overview of the crimes that aren’t eligible for mandatory release in Texas:

  • Injury to a child
  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual assault
  • Capital murder
  • Any offense where a deadly weapon was used
  • Engaging in organized criminal activity
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery

There are a few other specific crimes and circumstances that would make an offender ineligible for mandatory release. You could also become ineligible while in jail if you are continuously misbehaving behind bars. If you’ve been accused of starting fights or causing problems, then you might get denied.

If you’re unclear whether you will be eligible for mandatory release soon, then it’s advised that you reach out to an attorney.

Everything You Need to Know About Complying with Mandatory Supervision

Just because you’ve been released from jail doesn’t mean that you automatically get back all your rights and privileges right away. Texas law states that every inmate being released must get a written statement that describes all the conditions of their release.

If you received this notice, then don’t take it lightly. Read and re-read the notice, and make sure that you understand everything that it says. If you’re unclear on anything on the notice, then reach out to an attorney for clarification.

You need to comply with other restrictions as well if you were convicted of a felony. Do not attempt to vote or buy any firearms right away. You’ll need to complete several legal steps before you’re able to regain these rights. Our office can help if you have questions about restoring your firearm or voting rights.

Mandatory release is still supervised, so you’re not completely off the hook. The law won’t consider your sentence completely served until you’ve completed the mandatory supervision period as well. Depending on your crime, you may face a number of restrictions like:

  • Attending drug or alcohol recovery courses
  • Refraining from drug or alcohol use (submitting to testing)
  • Maintaining a job
  • Keeping a place to live
  • Avoiding any and all criminal activity
  • Staying within a specific geographical area

In most situations, you’ll have a parole officer that you need to report to. This officer may even visit your home or place of employment to verify that you’re being honest about changing your ways. It’s crucial to follow these conditions. Learn why below.

Consequences of Violating the Terms of Mandatory Supervision in Texas

Committing a new crime is considered a violation of the terms of your mandatory supervision. That means you’ll immediately be taken back to jail. Not only will you likely get more time for your new crime, but you’ll also need to serve out the rest of your previous sentence as well.

You could end up back in jail for violating parole in other ways, too. If you don’t have permission to leave the state and you do, then that would be considered a violation. Typically these minor or technical violations won’t immediately send you back to jail – but they might.

If you fail a drug test, for example, then you’ll likely have a brand new hearing over the violations. They’ll consider your circumstances and decide on whether or not to send you back into custody. If the violation wasn’t too severe, then a judge may impose new conditions onto your mandatory release. These conditions may include required AA meetings or counseling.

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How Can an Attorney Help with Mandatory Supervision?

 Mandatory supervision is preferable over serving out your sentence in jail. If your eligibility date is rapidly approaching, then there are steps you can take to help prove you are a good candidate for mandatory supervision.

Good behavior during imprisonment can mean more than just complying with the rules. You can improve your standing by volunteering to help, attending voluntary education courses or by making moves to secure employment once you’re on the outside.

If you have been released, then you need to focus your efforts on staying clean, following the law and reporting to your parole officer if it’s a condition of your release. Reach out to our office now if you have any questions about mandatory supervision in Texas.

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