The Texas Parole Process

The Parole Process in Texas
The Parole Process in Texas

Each state works a little differently when it comes to applying for parole. At TexasParoleNow.com we have written two different books explaining the different parts of the process.

Understanding the Texas Parole Process

Our first book is Understanding the Texas Parole Process. It is available only as a downloadable eBook in PDF format. It is completely free and is offered only through our publishing partner, RebellionBooks.com. The book explains how the system works and is free. However, while we give permission to anyone who downloads it from the website to print it and send it to any offender who is currently incarcerated, if you download it from any website other than TexasParoleNow.com or RebellionBooks.com, you take a chance on it not being our book or not being updated and, in addition, it may contain a virus. When we see the book appear on other websites we send them a “Takedown Notice” since we have not given anyone permission to host the file.

It is also important to note that while this book addresses how parole in Texas works, it DOES NOT address how to put together an effective Texas Parole Packet. That information is contained in the book discussed in the next section.

How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet

How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet is the book http://www.texasparolenow.com/ and  RebellionBooks.com has published which explains all of the details, forms, and strategies for putting together and submitting a Texas Parole Packet to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (TBPP).

This book is not free. It is constantly being updated and is available through RebellionBooks.com and Amazon.com.

We would offer a few words of warning on this book as well. Only the websites we have mentioned have authorization to sell this book and, in addition, even on Amazon you have to beware of buying this book from anyone not listed as Amazon.com as the seller as shown circled in red in Figure 1. This is because some booksellers purchase the books and mark them up but only we offer the most current and updated versions whether printed or PDF or Kindle eBooks. Several times a year we receive an updated list of changes in voting members, addresses, phone numbers, statistics, and procedures. When we receive these changes we immediately modify the book and publish it. Those who purchase through RebellionBooks.com will automatically receive these updates for free if purchased within the last 12 months.

The Parole Process

While both books explain the process in detail, we do want to explain the basics of parole here.

Everything that happens while a person is incarcerated can count toward the decision to grant or deny parole. The positive considerations would include work done, classes taken, certificates earned, etc. However, any negative information such as “write ups”, loss of good time credits, incident reports, fights, etc. can result in a denial of parole.

A person begins to accumulate time toward parole when they are incarcerated, even prior to trial or a plea bargain. Parole eligibility begins when a person accumulates 25% of their sentenced time if they were not convicted of a 3g offense. This includes all  flat time plus any good time credit. Our article When Are You Eligible For Parole in Texas covers how time credits are calculated.

Approximately 60 to 90 days prior to that date, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles begin to put together the file for the voting members of the board to review. This includes all of the information from prison, information from the prosecuting attorney, victim statements, any information obtained from the offender during an interview at the facility where they are imprisoned, plus any information provided by the inmate in their Texas parole packet.

While three voting members of the board are assigned to each case, the reality is that only two of the three vote, unless there is tie, in which case the third member casts the deciding vote.

When a calculation is made of the number of files each voting member must review, and then consider the number of hours they actually work, it becomes very clear each voting member only has a few minutes to review each application for parole and the file. That’s why it is so important that the Texas parole packet be prepared with a specific strategy in mind. This strategy is the basis of our book, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet.

Essentially, the voting members look at the information which is easiest to find in their file. Our strategy allows you to offset this by providing information which is positive and which supports a parole and sets forth a way to do this by making the information both interesting, attention catching, and engaging so the few minutes the voting member has are focused chiefly on your parole packet.

After the parole packet is completed, then it is provided to the board at one of the seven Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles offices handling and voting on parole for the prison unit where the offender is incarcerated. The packet should also be sent to the main office in Austin.

Parole Panel Voting Options

When the voting member of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles look at a file they do not vote just “yes” or “no”. The panels have a number of voting options for parole approval as well as for denial. The Board may withdraw an approval vote at any time if new information is received. The following are the reasons for approval or denial as set forth on the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles website;

Approval Votes

FI-1: Release the offender when eligible.

FI-2 (Month/Year): Release on a specified future date.

FI-3R (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation program. Release to parole only after program completion and not earlier than three months from specified date. Such TDCJ program may include either CHANGES/Lifeskills, Voyager, Segovia Pre-Release Center (Segovia PRC), or any other approved tier program.

FI-4R (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation program. Release to parole only after program completion and not earlier than four months from specified date. Such TDCJ program shall be the Sex Offender Education Program (SOEP).

FI-5: Transfer to In-Prison Therapeutic Community Program (IPTC). Release to aftercare component only after completion of IPTC program.

FI-6: Transfer to a DWI Program and release to a continuum of care program.

FI-6R (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation program. Release to parole only after program completion and no earlier than six months from specified date. Such TDCJ program may include the Pre-Release Therapeutic Community (PRTC), Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program (PRSAP), or In-Prison Therapeutic Community Program (IPTC), or any other approved tier program.

FI-7R (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation program. Release to parole only after program completion and not earlier than seven months from the specified date. Such TDCJ program shall be the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI).

FI-9R (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation program. Release to parole only after program completion and not earlier than nine months from specified date. Such TDCJ program shall be the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-9).

FI-18R (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation treatment program. Release to parole only after program completion and no earlier than 18 months from specified date. Such TDCJ program shall be either the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-18), or the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI).

CU/FI (Month/Year-Cause Number): Designate the date on which the offender serving consecutive sentences would have been eligible for release on parole if the offender had been sentenced to serve a single sentence. This date shall be within a three-year incarceration period following the panel decision.

RMS: Release to mandatory supervision.

Denial Votes

NR (Month/Year): Deny parole and set time for next parole consideration. State law requires annual reviews except for offenders serving a sentence for an offense listed in Section 508.149(a), Government Code, or for an offense punishable as a felony of the second or third degree under Section 22.04, Penal Code. For these offenders, the next review date (month/year) may be set up to five years from the panel decision date, but in no event shall it be less than one calendar year from the panel decision date.

SA: Deny parole with no regular subsequent review, requiring offender to serve balance of sentence, unless eligible for mandatory supervision consideration prior to projected release date.

CU/NR (Month/Year-Cause Number): Deny favorable action and set the next review date at one year from the panel decision date. If the offender is serving a sentence for an offense listed in Section 508.149(a), Government Code, or for an offense punishable as a felony of the second or third degree under Section 22.04, Penal Code, the next review date (month/year) may be set at any date in the five-year incarceration period following the panel decision date, but in no event shall it be less than one calendar year from the panel decision date.

CU/SA (Month/Year-Cause Number): If the offender is serving a sentence for an offense listed in Section 508.149(a), Government Code, or for an offense punishable as a felony of the second or third degree under Section 22.04, Penal Code; deny release and order serve-all, but in no event shall this be utilized if the offender’s maximum expiration date is over five years from the date of the panel decision. If the offender is not serving an offense under Section 508.149(a), Government Code, deny release and order serve-all, but in no event shall this be utilized if the offender’s maximum expiration date is over one year from the date of the panel decision.

DMS (Month/Year): Deny release to mandatory supervision and set the next mandatory supervision review date one year from the panel decision date.

SB 45 and HB 1914 Voting Options

A different set of voting options are necessary for offenders convicted under SB 45 and HB 1914. These voting options require a two-thirds majority vote of the full board.

Approval Votes

FI-1: Release the offender when eligible.

FI-4R: (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation program. Release to parole only after program completion and not earlier than four months from specified date. Such TDCJ program shall be the Sex Offender Education Program (SOEP).

FI-9R: (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation program. Release to parole only after program completion and not earlier than nine months from specified date. Such TDCJ program shall be the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-9).

FI-18R (Month/Year): Transfer to a TDCJ rehabilitation treatment program. Release to parole only after program completion and no earlier than eighteen months from the specified date. Such TDCJ program may include the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-18), or the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI). In no event shall the specified date be set more than three years from the current panel decision date.

CU/FI (Month/Year-Cause Number): A favorable parole action that designates the date an offender would have been released if the offender had been sentenced to serve a single sentence.

RMS: Release to mandatory supervision.

Denial Votes

NR (Month/Year): Deny parole and set time for next parole consideration. (1) SB 45 Cases – Deny release and set the next review date for 36 or 60 months following the panel decision date; or (2) HB 1914 Cases – Deny release and set the next review date for 36, 60, 84, or 120 months following the panel decision date.

SA: Deny parole with no regular subsequent review. (1) SB 45 Cases – The offender’s minimum or maximum expiration date is less than 60 months away. The offender will continue to serve their sentence until that date; or (2) HB 1914 Cases – The offender’s minimum or maximum expiration date is less than 120 months away. The offender will continue to serve their sentence until that date.

CU/NR (Month/Year-Cause Number): Deny parole and set time for next parole consideration. (1) SB 45 Cases – Deny release and set the next review date for 36 or 60 months following the panel decision date; or (2) HB 1914 Cases – Deny release and set the next review date for 60, 84, or 120 months following the panel decision date.

CU/SA (Month/Year-Cause Number): Deny parole with no regular subsequent review. (1) SB 45 Cases – The offender’s minimum or maximum expiration date is less than 60 months away. The offender will continue to serve their sentence until that date; or (2) HB 1914 Cases – The offender’s minimum or maximum expiration date is less than 120 months away. The offender will continue to serve their sentence until that date.

DMS (Month/Year): Deny release to mandatory supervision and set the next mandatory supervision review date one year from the panel decision date.

Conclusion

While this all may seem confusing, both of our books explain this in language which is much easier to understand language and the tactics and strategies are both simple and effective. While we have included forms in the books, the forms are really examples which can be quickly and easily applied to the specific facts of your particular parole case.

 

About the Author

Lawyer X
Lawyer X is the pen name of a former attorney who now spends all of his time writing and consulting. While in practice he was involved in both criminal and civil trials across the United States, including picking or helping to pick juries in hundreds of civil and criminal cases. In addition to his work as a trial lawyer, Lawyer X wrote articles, lectured at continuing legal education seminars, and was active in the legal community in many ways. He maintains anonymity now so that he can provide knowledge from inside and express honest opinions and viewpoints that other members of the legal community would just as soon weren't shared.