One of the biggest factors used in calculating whether someone will make parole or not is any gang affiliation they are perceived as having. This "classification" as to gang membership can be placed on an offender by virtue of their record, their crime, or something as simple as tattoos which the experts believe are gang related.
However, the reality is that the traditional prison gangs which plagued Texas prisons in the 1980s and 1990s are on a decline, at least to a degree.
During the 80s and 90s prisoners ran Texas prisons and prison gangs often fought for power and control within the ranks of prison population. Young offenders often joined prison gangs to gain a sense of community, protection, acceptance and oftentimes these members became their "family" vowing lifetime loyalty to the gang.
In response to intense criticism, TDC began cleaning up the volatile gang situation and slowly took back control of the facilities. The proactive practice of TDC housing gang members in administrative segregation proved effective as a long term deterrent for gang violence. Separating gang members from low-risk offenders is believed to have curtailed gang prison recruitment violence throughout TDCJ facilities. Less violence means less motivation to join a gang.
However, state prisons and county jails still offer recruitment opportunities while serving time behind bars. Offenders identified as gang members or affiliated with a known gang have a more difficult time receiving early parole.
One solution to breaking the link with gangs is through a process offered by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and which provides at-risk offenders who are members of recognized gangs a path to achieve early parole. It is called GRAD (Gang Renouncement and Disassociation). Those offenders willing to renounce their gang affiliation will be required to participate in the process and all activities until successful completion of the program. This process usually take nine months to complete. There is currently a two-year wait time to enroll in the program. Any gang activity by the offender during the wait period or the program will result in the immediate withdrawal from GRAD.
There are three phases to the program.
Phase I (2 months):
Substance abuse classes
Phase II (4 months):
Anger Management/substance abuse
Criminal addictive behavior
Phase III ( 3 months):
1/2 day work schedule
1/2 day unit programs
Upon successful completion of the program the offender will be released into general population and assigned to a new unit recommended by the State Classification Committee.
All graduates of the GRAD program have an incentive to make early parole due to the possibility that other gang members will target them for retaliation.
Texas Parole Now would like to help graduates of the GRAD program along with those currently enrolled in the program to make early parole. Our book, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet, contains all the forms and examples needed to create a parole package. A Texas parole package is a way to increase the chances of making parole, so it deserves as much time and attention as you can devote to it.