Guilty or Innocent – What To Tell the Parole Board
This is one of those really tough questions that an offender who is factually innocent must face in both his interview with the person from the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole and the letter he sends to the Parole Board along with the parole packet.
Without question, at any one time there are a number of people incarcerated who did not commit the crime for which they were sentenced. However, if they are incarcerated then they were either found guilty by a judge or jury after a trial or, more likely, they accepted a plea bargain to avoid the chance of a longer sentence.
The criminal "justice" system, however, operates under the fiction that everyone who is incarcerated actually committed the crime and therefore one thing the voting members are thought to consider, and something directly acknowledged in the Federal points system, is whether the offender "accepts responsibility" for their actions.
This question is a little easier in the Texas parole system since the offender seeking parole never actually meets with the voting members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole who will vote on the application.
Since there will be no face to face meeting or direction questions, a simple tact for the innocent person applying for parole is to acknowledge the facts of the case without admitting the guilt. For instance, rather than writing:
"I know what I did was wrong and accept the consequences for my actions."
Instead the offender can say:
"I acknowledge that I was found guilty by a jury of my peers and have done my best to accept the consequences of that verdict and done my time in prison while trying to better myself as a person and prepare for when I am released."
If the person pled guilty rather than being found guilty by a jury they can substitute the words "pled guilty" for "was found guilty by a jury of my peers".
This allows the innocent person to reconcile their conscience and the reality that they didn't commit the crime and yet still appear to accept the false reality under which the system works.
As we discuss in our book, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet, perception is the key to making parole.