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TDCJ Unveils New Inmate Censorship Policy

In the new Offender Orientation Handbook released this earlier this month, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice instituted a new policy punishing offenders for having a social media presence even if it is managed by a friend or family member.   The new offender manual creates a prohibition on inmates "maintaining active social media accounts for the purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging others, through a third party or otherwise."   Offenders who violate the new policy will be charged with a level three disciplinary violation which can result inRead More


What is the CHANGES Program?

The CHANGES Program is a program offered to offenders through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Windham School District which provide life skills to prepare offenders for release.  CHANGES stands for Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success. Offenders who are expected to be released within two years or have F13R parole requirements are allowed and sometimes required to take the courses.   The CHANGES program include topics that are important to being successful on the outside.  These include: Personal Development –  preparing for change, goal setting, self-discovery, values, attitudes,Read More


Getting Your GED While Incarcerated

Windham School District (WSD) provides a GED preparation program for inmates seeking to obtain their GED while incarcerated and is available for any qualified inmate in a Texas county or state jail or prison at no charge. When inmates enter TDCJ they are tested to determine their academic level.  Inmates are then placed in educational program based on their Individualized Treatment Plan, which outlines education services for the offender.    Inmates are taught the skills needed to prepare for the GED test.  Classes are typically three hours a day andRead More


How Does the Texas Parole Board Make Their Decisions?

A question most asked of potential parolees is “How does the Parole Board make their decisions about parole?” The members of the Texas Parole Board use a set of parole guidelines in order to obtain a score for an offender.  For years, the Parole Board has been using a two-prong guideline to determine an offender’s likelihood of parole.  The guidelines contain two major sections:  the Risk Assessment Instrument and the Offense Severity Class.  These work together to provide an offender’s likelihood of parole in a single score.  In appearance, theRead More


Over 80,000 Inmates Considered for Parole in 2012

In 2012, 81,638 inmates were considered for parole.  Of those, only 29,689 were approved.  That means the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole approved just 36.8% of the inmates who were up for parole.   On average each parole office decides over 16,000 parole reviews per year, roughly 310 per week or almost 63 per day.  These numbers do not include the additional thousands of cases in which the board is considering an inmate for mandatory supervision. Based on these numbers, it is clear the members of the Parole BoardRead More


Father’s Day in Prision

Father's Day in prison is rough on both the man inside as well as the kids on the outside. Texas Parole Now urges you to go and visit the dad not only to help improve his spirits but also for the benefit of the children and to keep the family unit together as much as possible. Every father wants nothing more than to be outside the walls.  However, if that is not possible then the next thing they want is to know that the people on the outside still loveRead More


The Role of the Institutional Parole Officer In The Parole Process

The Institutional Parole Officer is often times the only official person an inmate will talk to regarding their parole plans. The Institutional Parole Officer is an employee of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles but does not have a vote in the parole process.  The role of the IPO is to interview the inmate and create a case summary based on the questions and responses during the interview which the voting members of the parole board will read before rendering a vote.  Since the inmate never meets with anyRead More


Parole Interviews in Texas

As we have mentioned in a previous post, the parole system in Texas is not like other states and definitely not like they show in the movies. In Texas there is no opportunity for an offender to meet with the voting members of the parole board.  They usually don't have a chance to even talk to the people who actually vote on their release. The only contact the prisoner or their loved ones will have with the voting members of the Texas Board of Parole will be through any writtenRead More


When To Complete A Texas Parole Packet?

People ask us "When is the time to start preparing a Texas parole packet?" Most of you know that a parole packet or a parole presentation package is a collection of documents and pictures sent to the Texas parole board to help them get to know the potential parolee a little better. This is particularly important in Texas since there is not an interview nor does the offender ever meet with an actual member of the parole board who will be voting. Our answer as to when to start isRead More