The Parole Voting Process in Texas

During a parole hearing, Parole Board members and commissioners vote on your loved one’s release. While every case is decided on its own merits, there is a standardized parole voting process across the state of Texas.

At The Cox Law Firm, we study the ins and outs of the parole decision-making process. With our specialized knowledge, your loved one can make their best case for gaining their freedom. Here is an overview of the parole voting process.

The Board Offices 

Your loved one’s case is assigned to the Board office in their unit’s region. There are seven regional Parole Board offices in Texas:

  1. Amarillo
  2. Palestine
  3. Huntsville
  4. Angleton
  5. San Antonio
  6. Austin
  7. Gatesville

The map below shows the location of each Parole Board office.

At the Cox Law Firm, we take cases from all across Texas and communicate with the staff in each office regularly as we coordinate telephonic and in-person hearings for our clients. Consequently, we have appeared for hearings in every regional Parole Board office and respect and enjoy the staff, commissioners, and board members in these offices. Overall, our experience is that the staff, commissioners and board members take their responsibilities very seriously and are prepared for our hearings. Additionally, they and are always professional and courteous to us and our clients’ support.

The Parole Panel

Our governor appoints the seven Parole Board members, who typically serve six year terms. Following, the Parole Board hires the fourteen Parole Board commissioners as employees. Each regional Parole Board office has two commissioners and one board member who comprise the three-person parole panel that considers and votes on the majority of parole cases in their region, with exception to the more severe offenses.

For the most severe crimes, the seven appointed Parole Board members vote on those cases. Severe offenses voted on by the seven Parole Board members include:

  • Continuous Trafficking of Persons;
  • Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children;
  • Indecency with a Child;
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault;
  • Capital felons with a life sentence who are eligible for parole;
  • Or persons required under Texas Government Code Section 508.145(c) to serve 35 calendar years before becoming eligible for release on parole.

Below are the current members and commissioners serving on the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles

Board Members

Commissioners

Parole Voting 

The decision on most parole cases requires concurring votes of two of the three members of the voting panel. This is how votes are cast.

  1. There is a designated lead voter for every case.
  2. After the lead voter casts his or her vote, a second panelist will consider and vote the case and either agree with or oppose the lead voter’s vote.
  3. Approximate fifteen percent (15%) of cases in 2019 were decided by the third panel member, who considered the case and broke the tie. 

However, for severe offenses requiring the vote of all seven Parole Board members, two thirds of the Parole Board members must agree to grant your loved one parole. Learn more about the full panel extraordinary voting process here.

Interestingly, the panelists do not simply vote “approve” or “deny” parole. Instead, the panel members select from several options when deciding your loved one’s parole approval, denial, or rehabilitative treatment. For more information on the parole voting options, please click here.

Our attorneys understand the intricacies of the factors considered and procedures utilized by the parole panels when voting. We not only address the mandated factors, but build and present a comprehensive plan that focuses on your loved one’s positive growth, future potential, and support. Our parole plans have a track record of earning parole approval for our clients that substantially exceeds the Parole Board’s approval rate. 

At the Cox Law Firm, we are proud of our ability to strengthen your loved one’s odds of gaining their freedom. Together, we will work to ensure that we present your loved one’s story fully and persuasively in our plan of parole. Please contact us immediately if you have any questions or want our support representing your loved one.

Images from the TDJC 2019 annual statistical report https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/bpp/publications/FY_2019_Annual_Statistical_Report.pdf

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