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HOMEPAROLE OVERVIEW > What to Expect from the Parole Process.

What to expect in the Parole Review Process.

How Does Parole Eligibility Work?

When it comes to who’s eligible for parole in the state of Texas, things are fairly cut and dried.

Parole eligibility starts with the Classification and Records Department of the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). 

TDCJ calculates parole eligibility for everyone in TDCJ with limited exception.

As you’d expect, the percentage of a sentence that must be served before an inmate is eligible for parole depends on several things:

  • The nature of the offense
  • The laws in effect when the crime was committed
  • Time earning status
  • Good conduct time credits

While good conduct laws are complicated, good time credits can be earned by taking part in assigned work or school programs.

Institutional Parole Officer Data Gathering and Interview

Once an inmate is designated as eligible for parole, the process moves on to the Institutional Parole Officer.

Institutional Parole Officers (IPOs) gather information and interview all eligible inmates for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. In Texas, IPOs cover 119 prison units across all 254 Texas counties.

Typical information gathered by IPOs includes:

  • Offense reports
  • Medical and psychological records
  • Institutional adjustment (in-prison behavior) records
  • Probation reports
  • Parole revocation information
  • And more

IPOs also interview each parole-eligible inmate. These interviews often last less than ten minutes.

The IPO then is expected to prepare a detailed case summary. This is what’s submitted to the parole board.

Like many TDCJ records, the IPO case summary is not public information. It cannot be requested or otherwise obtained.

Parole Panel Consideration and Vote

Approximately 80,000 Texas inmates are eligible for parole every year.

Who decides if your loved one will be granted parole?

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The Parole Board is made up of 21 board members and parole commissioners. Seven (7) board members are appointed for six-year terms by the Governor based on the advice and consent of the Senate.

The Board member serving as the Presiding Officer hires 14 parole commissioners who assist the Board in deciding parole cases.

Voting panels are always made up of three people: One Board member and two commissioners. Most Parole Board members and commissioners have extensive law enforcement, prison, or parole experience.

There are seven board offices across Texas located in Amarillo, Angleton, Austin, Gatesville, Huntsville, Palestine, and San Antonio. Each office is managed by one board member and has two parole commissioners.

Parole cases are decided by the majority vote of three-person parole panels

Parole cases are now typically circulated to each Board office electronically.

Panel members review, consider, and vote cases separately. The lead voter is the first parole panel member to cast a vote on the parole case. Once the lead voter casts their vote, the case goes to the second voter for their separate review, consideration, and vote.

Of the 80,000 annual parole cases in Texas, roughly 85% are decided by unanimous vote of the first two panel members voting the case.

On average, parole board members cast over 8,200 votes each year—more than four cases per work hour. 

Of the 80,000 parole cases, 33% are granted the privilege of parole. Of those granted parole, nearly 40% must complete a TDCJ rehabilitation program. These last between three and 18 months before the inmate is—at last—released on parole.

When Cox Law represents your loved one, we submit a written plan and then always present our parole plans to the lead voter live, over the phone or in person at the board office. 

Live hearings give us another way to advocate the parole plan in a more personal and effective way. It bolsters the written plan in a way no other approach can.

Board members and parole commissioners take their responsibilities extremely seriously. They are professional and courteous, generous with their time, and always give their full attention when we present parole plans.

Votes are cast and decisions are typically made within one week of the parole case hearing.

Parole Approval Voting Options

While you may think that parole approval is a simple yes or no, there’s way more to it.

In fact, there are 11 possible voting options for Parole Board members!

These approval voting options were enacted by Senate Bill 45 in the 74th Texas Legislature and are now codified in section 508.046 of the Texas Government Code.

How the Parole Panel votes is largely influenced by the case we present.

Get Help Immediately

The parole process can be overwhelming…

Most of the time, you’re not even aware of the right steps to take to secure your loved one’s freedom.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

When it feels like an eternity since they left. 

When securing their freedom is your top priority.

We’re here to help.

At the Cox Law Firm, we don’t take cases. We take clients.

Get help right now. Call the Cox Law Firm at 817.860.9200

CALL: 817.860.9200

  1. The offender’s file is sent to the affected board office.
    • A panel consists of 3 parole panel members
    • 1st voting member reviews/votes case
    • Case transferred to 2nd voting member – reviews/votes case
    • 2 similar votes = final vote on case
    • If the first two votes differ, the 3rd voting member of the panel reviews the case and breaks the tie
    • There must be a majority of two votes for a vote to become final
  2. Offender is notified of parole panel decision via correspondence.
  3. Interviewing the offender is at the discretion of the parole panel member.
  4. Granting interviews to individuals in support/protest of an offender’s release is also at the parole panel member’s discretion.
    Parole panel members must grant an interview to the victim upon request.
  5. Require the offender to serve his entire sentence (SA).

Factors Considered in the Voting of a Case

  • Seriousness of the offense(s)
  • Offender’s age
  • Juvenile history
  • Criminal history (prior probation/parole)
  • Number of prison incarcerations
  • Other arrests
  • Institutional adjustment (Participation in TDCJ-CID proposed or specialized programs)
  • Letters of support and/or protest

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