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What Is Parole In Absentia (PIA)?

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

What Is Parole In Absentia (PIA)?

When you are serving time in prison, you may welcome the opportunity to be released early and get back out into regular society. However, if your parole hearing is being held in another place away from where you are being housed, you might worry that this opportunity will pass you by.

In this event, you could still be eligible if your parole hearing is held in your absence. You can take advantage of what parole in absentia, or PIA, can offer to you by learning what it is and who is eligible for it in Texas. 

What is Parole in Absentia in Texas?

Parole in absentia, or PIA, in Texas is a type of parole hearing that is held even if the eligible prisoner is not present during it. This individual might be housed in a prison in another state. The distance between his or her current prison and the one where the hearing is held can be too far to allow him or her to attend in person.

Even so, the parole board in Texas can still hold the hearing and determine if this person is eligible to be released early from prison. In fact, “parole in absentia” translates as “parole without being present.” With that, this type of hearing does not require that the eligible prisoner be physically present for his or her parole chances to be decided.

In Texas, which is one of two states that allow for this type of hearing, parole in absentia is reserved solely for prisoners who are housed is other prisons out of the state. The parole board does not require that the eligible prisoner be transported to Texas and to the location where the hearing is being held. The members of the parole board can decide this person’s fate without him or her appearing before them.

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Who is Eligible for Parole in Absentia in Texas?

PIA hearings in Texas are reserved for those individuals who have been convicted of crimes in the state but are being housed and serving their time in out-of-state prisons. They cannot be offered to people who have charges from another state. The state itself would have to agree to the terms of those offenders’ releases.

They are also not granted to people serving time for offenses like:

  • First or second degree aggravated assault
  • First or second degree kidnapping
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child
  • Injury to a child
  • First or second degree murder
  • Capitol murder
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault
  • Arson
  • Indecency with a child

Prisoners who are eligible for PIA must first fill out and submit an extensive packet of information to the parole board. Depending on the circumstances, they also may need to submit to a phone or virtual parole board interview in the prison where they are staying. 

People who are granted PIA hearings are also required to provide the parole board with a parole release plan or parole in absentia summary. They also may need to prove that they have clear and positive prison records with no behavioral or criminal infractions. The packet, along with this plan or summary and proof of one’s prison record, can provide the parole board with sufficient information to determine whether or not prisoners should be granted early parole.

 Prisoners that are granted parole via PIA hearings should take note, however, that they will be treated the same as any other parolee who attended an in-person hearing in front of the parole board. They will not be given special treatment and will be held to the same terms as other parolees. They can also have their parole revoked and sent back to prison if they violate those terms. 

What Happens after a PIA Hearing?

After your PIA hearing in Texas, the parole board will decide if you are eligible for parole. If it decides to grant you parole, the board will coordinate your release with the prison where you are being housed.

It will also work with parole officers in that state to determine to what terms you will need to abide once you leave prison. For example, the Texas parole board will stipulate where you can and cannot live and whom your parole officer will be in that state.

Further, the parole board may require you to get permission before you travel back to the state where you were initially arrested and charged. You may not be able to leave the state where you were being housed in prison without first getting permission from your parole officer or the parole board. If you leave the state without permission, you could have your parole revoked, and you could be sent back to prison to serve out the rest of your sentence.

Likewise, the parole board in Texas will require you to get a job and earn an income to support yourself. You also cannot associate with known criminals, especially gang members and people who are affiliated with organized crime. You also may not be able to live near a school or daycare facility if you are a violent offender.

Last, you will be required to meet with your parole officer regularly and allow him or her to inspect your home and vehicle without warning. You will also be required to pass random drug and alcohol tests. You also cannot own or use a firearm during the time that you are out on parole.

If you fail to abide by these terms or are convicted of a new crime, your parole officer can recommend that your parole be revoked and that you be sent back to prison to serve out the rest of your sentence behind bars. Parole violations are the most common reason that parolees, even those that are granted parole in PIA hearings, are sent back to prison.

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Why Hire an Attorney

When you want to make the best use of the PIA hearing that is granted to you, you need to make sure that you follow all of the requirements that Texas mandates for it. However, you may need legal counsel and help with tasks like completing the packet of information or getting access to your prison record.

Your attorney may also be present for any interview that you have to give to the parole board. He or she can make sure that you understand the questions that the members of the board ask you and that you provide the right information to determine your eligibility for parole.

Rather than try to overcome these obstacles on your own, you can hire an experienced parole attorney like Greg Tsioros to assist you. Mr. Tsioros can advise you on how to obtain and complete the packet of information that the Texas parole board requires of you. He can also help you get a copy of your prison record to show the parole board that you have no infractions on it.

Parole in absentia, or PIA, can allow you the opportunity to be released from prison early and become a part of society again. It also spares you from having to travel to Texas to appear in person. You can meet the requirements and make full use of PIA in Texas by hiring attorney Greg Tsioros to advise and assist you.


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