What this means is that many of the safeguards that are present in the criminal justice system, both before trial and on appeal, no longer exist when it is time to apply for parole.
The right to have the state appoint a lawyer for someone that can’t afford one is not present in a Texas parole application.
There are a number of great Texas parole attorneys available (and some not so good) but all of them are for hire, none will be appointed by the court. Many of them are too expensive for a family with a loved one in prison, which is one of the reasons that we have written and published our book How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet.
Unlike some states, Texas does not have the parole hearing process either. While an inmate or an attorney for an inmate can request a personal interview they are not always granted and there is no empirical evidence available that the personal interview actually makes any difference in the granting of parole.
What does appear to make a difference is a good parole packet. This is for a number of reasons, discussed more fully in other posts as well as in the book, but I think it is primarily that a well done parole packet removes the impersonal reading of a file and instead puts a human touch on the process.
By all means, if you can afford a Texas Parole lawyer then you should hire one but if you can’t then you should prepare a good parole packet and we, of course, believe that our 2014 version of the How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet book. The book is available in digital format which can be instantly downloaded or in a bundle that includes both the digital version (which can be read on your computer or other device) as well as a printed copy that can be sent to you or to an inmate in the Texas prison system.