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Thread: Increasing the chances for parole release

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Increasing the chances for parole release

    With relative frequency I’ve been asked advice on how to best prepare an inmate for his or her application for discretionary release to parole supervision. Such requests have come from loved ones of inmates incarcerated in a number of different states. I’ve therefore elected create this thread for this purpose.

    When it comes to parole board appearances, every state is different in some way. For example, some states allow inmate applicants to be represented by counsel, while others do not. Similarly, some states allow family members and loved ones of release applicants to personally appear, while others do not. But, several things hold true with all states, the most important of which being that parole applicants have the right to submit for consideration documentary evidence in support of their cause, together with letters from family members, friends, employers, and others advocating for release and/or expressing a willingness to help the inmate upon being granted release.

    There are a number of different trains of thought when it comes to the release application process. For example, in states where attorneys are permitted to represent an inmate applicant at his or her board appearance, some are of the belief that the presence of a lawyer is looked upon as an attempt to somehow coerce release or intimidate parole officials, and is thus unfavorable, while others subscribe to the belief that the presence of retained counsel is favorable to the extent that such demonstrates family members are willing to sacrifice financially to bring their loved ones home. At the same time, the personal appearance and/or support letters of loved ones can be, and oftentimes are, largely disregarded by parole authorities.

    My suggestion has always been, and will always be, the compilation and filing of what is commonly known as a Proposed Parole release Plan (“PPRP”), regardless of state. A comprehensive PPRP consists of much information. Not at all uncommon is for one to include family background, educational, vocational and/or professional accomplishments, an objective analysis of what led the offender to criminality, a detailed recitation of institutional accomplishments, an explanation as to the reason(s) for sustained incidents of institutional misconduct, assurances of meaningful employment and acceptable housing upon release, plans for continued rehabilitative programming upon release, and more. A PPRP oftentimes also includes a copy of the PSI (Pre-sentence Investigation) compiled by probation officials or the prosecution (usually very unfavorable) and documentary evidence refuting aggravating factors therein alleged. Remember always that such reports are always available to parole officials.

    PPRPs can be compiled by legal professionals, the inmate, or by loved ones. Rarely, however, can an inmate or his/her loved one view the matter objectively for the fact of their personal connection. The ones I’ve seen compiled by family members or loved ones – and a few have been quite good – usually fail to include important information … understandably, again because of their personal attachment and interest. It is for this primary reason that I’ve always thought best that a PPRP be compiled by someone with the ability to be entirely objective; someone in no way connected to the inmate applicant.

    I therefore religiously recommend that a PPRP be compiled by a professional who has undergone legal training and who has a good working knowledge of what parole officials are looking for. And I also usually recommend that while a legal professional compile the PPRP, it be signed and submitted by the inmate. I do this because of what has been conveyed to me by parole officials in the past. Several have told me that a PPRP signed and submitted by an attorney is sometimes viewed as an attempt to purchase parole release, while the same PPRP, signed and submitted by the inmate applicant, oftentimes indicates to officials that he/she has spent a lot of time preparing for their release and is thus ready for it.

    The cost of a PPRP necessarily varies from case to case, from state to state, and from preparer to preparer. On average, one could expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 to $3,500, sometimes more, sometimes less, again depending on such variables.

    Whether or not the investment is worth the risk is a decision left exclusively to viewers here. To aid in that decision-making process, I’ll share the following:

    1) Statistics show inmates filing PPRPs have a better chance at discretionary release than inmates who do not.

    2) The average parole “set-off” or “hit” is about two years (in other words, release denied for two years before reconsideration).

    3) If one was to pay a professional the high end of $3,500 for a PPRP, and its compilation and submission saved your inmate two tears of imprisonment, it would have cost you less than $5.00 per day to have your inmate home.

    Finally, because obtaining the many records necessary to compile a good PPRP can take several months, suggested is that those of you considering one retain professional assistance (or begin the process yourself) at least 6 to 8 months prior to your inmate’s scheduled release interview, and in extraordinarily complex cases, another couple of months or so earlier yet.

    Hopefully this post will prove useful. Good luck to all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: Increasing the chances for parole release

    Wanted to thank you for your opinions shared and info, hope to use it one day in the future.
    Never grow a wishbone, daughter,
    where your backbone ought to be.

    ~Clementine Paddleford~

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    United States

    Default Re: Increasing the chances for parole release

    Prison Litigator,
    Thank you for taking the time to submit so much detailed information. This topic is near and dear to me and is what I have been working on here of late.

    I have no money and am concerned that because of lack of maoney, I will not be able to get my son out of prison by Aprl 2009 which is the 15 months he has done. He was given 15 months to 15 years. He had already done some of the 15 months from the moment he was arrested (then I bailed him out), to the time he was re-arrested and put into the county jail. Both times were counted into the 15 months the Judge stated at the trial. So, I was expecting him to go to the Parole hearing around April 2009.

    Anyway, I have already gotten all of hs friends and family members to write letters so that I can place them into his "Parole Packet."

    (Please see what I mean by Parole Packet below; it is similiar to what you stated.)

    I have also contacted his Pre-Sentencing Investigator whom I have spoken with on several occasions prior to and after the trial, so that I could discuss whether or not there was a possibility of getting a copy of the PSI. (He also gave me information on how much it would costs to have Victor's case transferred to California from Michigan, not my friend or on Victor's side but somewhat helpful)

    I contacted California and Michigan Interstate Compact Requests to determine what the sending state's responsibilities and the receiving state's responsibilities were. I have sent Victor the Adult Offenders Application to Request the Interstate Compact Request Transfer.

    The pastor here will provide counseling services for Victor and Victor's former employer will give him a job as soon as he is released. I have letters saying just that. There is a picture of Victor in regular clothes (a few pics actually) so they will see him differently than in prison clothes, and his accomplishments are listed in school and in the community among his peers and even the High School Football Coaches remember Victor and will write a brief letter for him.

    These same people wrote letters to the Judge on Victor's behalf.

    I can call the Warden and Victor's counselor in prison,a nd his teacher who sent me his GED and anyone else.

    I know I get emotional because Victor is my son so it would be best for someone who is experienced at this and detached to do it, but how is that possible when I have no cash and am waiting on SSI/SSA to come through and looking for work that I can do since my illness? I have been looking hard for work, part time, under the table, anything that I can do and hoping and praying that the SSI/SSA starts soon, but here I am, and there is Victor. Do I just give up or is there someone that can help me help myself so that I can help my son?

    It ia unfortunate and I will continue to do my best and your information is very much appreciated and needed.
    As Always, Thank you, so very, very much!

    Please see below:

    How to Create a Parole Packet
    By Tricia Goss, published Jan 16, 2008

    If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, you might want to consider creating a parole packet on his or her behalf, especially if you know they will be going before the parole board. A parole packet helps the parole board to understand what kind of support - financial, emotional, and spiritual - a prison inmate would have if he or she is to be granted parole.

    Most prisons or parole divisions will provide information to an inmate and his or her family about how to create a parole packet, but it can still be confusing and overwhelming. While this article is not intended in any way, shape or form to provide legal advice, the following tips will show you, step by step, how to make a parole packet.

    The first thing you will need for your parole packet is a report or presentation cover. Basically, this is a binder with a plastic or chipboard back and a clear plastic front, as well as some means of containing your parole packet, such as prong fasteners for punched holes. These covers can be purchased at most office supply stores, as well as online retailers such as Staples (click here for an example).

    The next item you will need for your parole packet is a cover page. The cover page will provide a professional appearance for your parole packet, as well as simple, basic information regarding the inmate. You can easily create a cover page using Microsoft Word. Simply type "cover" into Word's search box and click go. Download the cover you like best. You can also find some very nice templates here. Once you have downloaded a report cover template, type some basic information into it regarding the inmate for whom you are creating the parole packet. The cover page should list the inmate's name, his or her identification number, and the words "Parole Packet" along with a date or season and year. Once you have created and printed your cover page, it will be the first page in the report cover.

    The next item to create for your parole packet is a cover, or transmittal, letter. A cover letter is a brief letter describing what is being sent as well as the purpose for sending it. It informs the recipient who is responsible for sending the parole packet, and gives you permanent record of when and where you sent the parole packet. Use a "professional letter" template in Microsoft Word, if you have access to it. To see a sample cover letter for your parole packet, click here. When you have created and printed your cover letter, put it behind the cover page in your parole packet report cover.

    The next document you will want to create for your parole packet is a table of contents or index. This will list, in order, the documents included in your parole packet. The index or table of contents is very basic. Include the inmate's name, identification number, prison address and a list of your enclosed documents with page numbers. You will need to wait until your other documents are completed and arranged before you print your table of contents or index, since you might not know which page of the parole packet each document will be until you are finished. Basically, here is what the index or table of contents will look like (again, this is only an example):

    John Q. Smith
    13055 FM 3522
    Abilene, Texas 79601


    The next two documents to include in your parole packet might be the Parole Guidelines Self-Assessment and the inmate's current time sheet. If these documents are applicable they will be provided to the inmate, who should send them on to you to help in making the parole packet.

    The next document in your parole packet should be a copy of the inmate's self-support letter to the parole board. You can find an example by clicking here. Next, include copies of all other support letters written to the parole board on the inmate's behalf. An example is found by clicking here.

    It is helpful to include a page or two of photos. These should be tasteful photos, showing the inmate's family and friends, the home where he or she will live upon being granted parole, as well as pictures of the inmate in street clothes. This will help the parole board to view your loved one as a "real person" and not simply a prisoner. You can create a nice looking photo page using Microsoft Publisher or a photo software program.

    Some other documents you might wish to include in the parole packet include: a letter from a potential employer; the inmate's résumé; and awards and accomplishments received by the inmate (prior to and/or during his or her incarceration).

    With your help and support, your inmate will be able to go before a parole board that has much more detailed information about who he or she really is.
    "Faith, Hope & Love, but the greatest of these is Love."
    I Corinthians 13:13

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Increasing the chances for parole release


    It appears you are proceeding along the right lines. You should be sure to also address your son's behavioral problems (e.g., I note he was re-arrested after being bailed out). In doing so, you should not make excuses for him. His judgmental errors should be defined as just that. Remember, parole officials want to see release candidates take responsibility for their actions. Again, objectivity is key.

    Best of luck to you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    United States

    Default Re: Increasing the chances for parole release

    I apologize. You must have misunderstood. There was no behavioral problem. My son was arrested for the crime they say he committed that he is in prison for now. I bailed him out prior to and during the trial. He was re-arrested after the trial ended and he was found quilty, for this crime by the jury.

    He has never been in any jail or prison or had any problems with the law prior to "this" incident.

    The only thing I can say is, my son still says he is innocent and I believe him. The appeal you already know about, I allowed to continue, yet we have heard nothing yet, understanding that sometines these things take time.

    When it comes to writing the letter, I don't know if I and/or my son is supposed to say that he is sorry for s crime he insists he did not commit? I don't know if not saying sorry means he has no remorse ans if he needs to show remorse since he was found guilty? You see, these are the things that I have a constent questioning headache about.

    These are the questions that the lawyer ould probably be able to assist us with, on the other hand, he/she may leave that up to Victor.
    "Faith, Hope & Love, but the greatest of these is Love."
    I Corinthians 13:13

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Default Re: Increasing the chances for parole release

    Unfortunately, Va has no parole. In my opinion this gives inmates very little to look forward to. Former Governor George Allen was the one who did this deed, and I think he did prison inmates in Va, a great injustice. I see the possibility of parole as something that gives inmates some hope of finally being free. For those wrongfully, those with mental issues(like my own sister), it gives nothing to look forward to, outside of a request for a Pardon, they have no future to hope for, if in there longterm. Which is what I am going to try for her. She is very ill, and getting sicker by the day. It breaks my heart.......Nomi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Increasing the chances for parole release

    VA may not offer parole, but beyond pardons, statute provides for other post-conviction relief avenues.

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