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Understanding the Texas Parole Process

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Texas Parole Board Gives Standardized Reasons for Denial Vote

When an offender is denied parole by the Texas Parole Board they receive a generic standardized reason for the denial.  The standardized reasons provide some insight into what they find important when making a decision for parole.

  • Criminal History – Indicates a predisposition to commit criminal acts, gang activity, felony arrests or misdemeanor offenses.
  • Nature of the Offense – Indicates one or more violent acts indicating a conscious disregard for the lives, safety or property of others.
  • Drug or Alcohol Involvement – Offender’s record indicates excessive drug or alcohol involvement.
  • Institutional Adjustment – Offender’s record indicates there have been major disciplinary offences during the last six months or a pattern of infractions since the last review.
  • Adjustment During Periods of Supervision – the offender had unsuccessful periods of previous supervision while on probation or parole.
  • Participation in TDCJ-CID Programs – The offender refuses to participate or complete TDCJ-CID programs.
  • Time Served – The offender has not served enough time.
  • Felony Offense – The offender has been charged with a felony committed while incarcerated.

Often, more than one of these reasons apply but the board responds with only one reason.  Some of the reasons are vague and subjective; however, it does provide information on what the offender can do to increase their chances for parole.  

While a family member may read the denial list and feel parole is not reachable for their loved one,  all hope is not lost.  It is our experience that by presenting a complete and thorough Texas Parole Presentation Packet, offenders can increase their chances for parole even though one or more reasons for denial may apply.  

A good Parole Package provides reasons why an offender should be granted parole.  Anyone can prepare an effective Texas Parole Packet. All they need is the information contained in our eBook, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet available as both as an instantly downloadable eBook and as a bundle of the eBook and a printed book (which can be sent to the person in prison to allow them to help with the preparation of the package).

 

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, the guidelines are objective, but the actual application appears to be completely subjective, with parole being granted and/or denied to different offenders with apparently the same scores.

It is important to note that these are only guidelines and the results of the formula does not necessarily mean a vote will go one way or the other.  Parole board members have a lot of leeway when making the decision to grant or deny parole and frequently will vote outside the guidelines.   

In the Texas Administrative Code Title 27 Public Safety and Corrections Chapter 145 Rule 145.3 states that parole is a privilege not a right and the parole board has complete discretion to grant or deny parole.   The rule also states there are no mandatory rules or guidelines that must be followed in every case because each offender is unique.   Each board member has a duty to make release decisions which are in the best interest of society and the use of the parole guidelines are a tool to aid in their decision making process.

Because the rule stresses this discretionary decision making process, there is little evidence to show or prove that a parole board member violated any law or rule if parole is denied to an offender. 

While this can be frustrating, the same process can also work to an offender’s advantage.  The focus on the need to evaluate a case on an individual basis means that a parole package can play an important role in helping to obtain parole.  By presenting a complete and thorough parole package including a viable parole plan, support letters, proof regarding the changes the offender has undergone during their incarceration, education, and other relevant information, it is possible to obtain a favorable vote.  

We understand that most families find the lack of clear guidance on what will get the parole board to vote a certain way can be very frustrating.  However, submitting a complete parole package can greatly increase the offender’s chance for parole.  Anyone can prepare an effective Texas Parole Packet. All they need is the information contained in our eBook, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet available as both as an instantly downloadable eBook and as a bundle of the eBook and a printed book (which can be sent to the person in prison to allow them to help with the preparation of the package).