An evaluation of the newly released statistical information from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (TBPP) has some surprising news, some bad news, as well as a tiny bit of good news for those seeking a Texas parole. However, there is still hope and a potential less dim light at the end of that long tunnel of the Texas criminal justice system.
A part of what we do here at TexasParoleNow.com is to have our legal experts carefully read over any new laws, policy changes, and statistics as they are released by the state. If any changes are made which affect the information contained in our book, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Package, we edit the book to reflect the new information and then offer to provide a free, updated copy of the ebook to anyone who recently purchased the book.
Normally, the changes are minimal since the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles work slowly, just as with any other governmental entity. However, this year the updated information made a more thorough analysis possible and revealed a number of issues which had been previously suspected but not confirmed.
First, we were amazed to find the highest percentage of paroles were actually granted to people who had been convicted of 3g sexual offenses. As our article on 3g offenses explains, these were violent offenses in some manner and since 2011, these paroles have been granted at a significantly higher percentage than any other type. However, it can safely be assumed that these people had been imprisoned for a longer time than other types of crimes but nonetheless, the approval rate is surprising. The chart below gives the specific percentages for a number of years but, just as an example, in 2018 violent sexual offenders were released at a 42.35% rate (meaning that roughly 42 out of a hundred Applications for Parole were granted to violent sexual offenders) whereas potential parolees who had committed completely non-violent crimes were only granted parole at a 34.69% rate.
Parole Approval Rates By Offense Type **
** We review a lot of numbers and these release percentages do not make sense to us. We are not sure what happened in 2011 to suddenly change the ability for violent sexual offenders to receive parole at a significantly higher rate. However, our legal team is looking into it and believes a mistake has been made when the state reported these numbers. We will notify you of any updates as soon as we receive them.
A statistic suddenly appeared in 2018 that is particularly troubling for those seeking a parole soon. As we had written in the past, parole rates had been improving overall. In 2002, the overall approval rate for paroles was 24.95% but starting in 2008, the rate increased to over 30% and had continued a general overall increase, culminating in the highest ever rate in 2013 with a 36.17% approval rate (see our table below). There were a number of reasons for this increase, primarily due to the closing of a number of private prisons necessitating a reduction in the number of prisoners, a reduced budget, as well as Texas attempting alternatives to incarceration. The numbers continue, although a slight decline was seen beginning in 2016 but in 2018, the percentage of parole dropped to 33%, the lowest number since 2011 and clearly showing a downward trend in the state granting parole. To put it in real numbers, last year 80,495 people applied for parole in Texas. Of that number only 26,566 paroles were granted. Those numbers are troubling.
Parole Approval Rate History
We believe that trend is likely to continue with fewer and fewer paroles being granted since the state of Texas now has “empty beds” in its prisons.
Our book, How To Prepare A Texas Parole Package, was originally written, and has been regularly updated, with a specific strategy in mind, using the Texas parole packet being a way to get information in front of the members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole who actually vote on whether a parole is granted or not. As the book explains, the vote on parole is actually assigned to just three people, with the first two voting and if they do not agree, only then does the third member vote. The Texas process does not allow for an in-person parole hearing like you see on television and in the movies. The parole is decided solely on the basis solely on the information contained in the files, and it is a safe assumption to think the materials provided by law enforcement and prisons is given great weight, making the process favor denials. In fact, some years ago, it was even found some employees of the TBPP were simply throwing away materials sent to the Board which was favorable to the person in prison.
Knowing these things, our legal experts took their experience and expertise and developed a system specifically designed to offset the information contained in the law enforcement and prison files. The information on this system and how to apply it is only available through our book. Of course, a Texas parole lawyer can be hired if you have sufficient funds, but their cost is often significantly more than the friends and family of a prisoner can afford, whereas our book is reasonably priced and available in several formats to fit anyone’s budget.
Our system involves preparing what is known as a Texas Parole Packet or Texas Parole Package and making sure it contains specific materials, each of which has a purpose to offset the negative materials the TBPP voting members already have as well as to shine a positive light wherever possible.
Those of us who have worked in the parole system knew the parole packets could be used but, at least officially, they were not mentioned in the materials which the voting members would/could consider or give weight. However, in 2019 the Board specifically identifies sections of the parole packet which are considered. This specific designation relates to the support letters we have always recommended be included in the packet and our book provides forms and examples of these support letters as well as identifying the best people from which to obtain these letters as a part of our strategy.
With the Board’s decreasing the number of paroles being granted it is more important than ever to not only provide them with additional, positive materials to offset the negative information contained in the file, but that the materials be provided in a particular format to ensure they are evaluated and considered. As we have mentioned before, and as set forth in our book, the numbers provided by the TBPP clearly show the voting members cannot be taking more than just a few minutes per file. Doesn’t it make sense to present information in a way which is the most likely to make them use those few minutes reviewing the positive information rather than focusing on the negative? And since we have carefully evaluated the negative contents of the files and know what they are likely to contain, our strategy focuses on negating the negative while enhancing the positive.
So while the outlook and number are not as favorable as they have been in the past, this is mainly due to people not knowing what to send to the board, not knowing the terminology required to get the positive information in front of the voting members, and not knowing exactly what to present. Using our method should greatly enhance the potential parolee’s chances of being released at the earliest possible date.