Depending on the crime you were convicted of, you may be able to apply for parole after serving some of your sentence. The chance to regain your freedom after spending time behind bars is not automatic, so it is crucial to understand how the process works.
Parole hearings are usually closed interviews between you and a Hearing Officer who will report their findings to a parole board. However, in some instances, a victim or their family may request an open hearing. They can do this where the crime was a violent one or one that resulted in the injury or death of someone. Unlike some states, the prosecutor who put you behind bars cannot take part in a hearing. However, they may work behind the scenes to help the crime victim update their victim impact statement in an attempt to persuade the parole board not to award you parole.
What does a parole board consider in awarding parole?
A parole board will base its decision on several factors. These include:
- The crime
- The circumstances of the crime
- Your health
- Your age then and now
- Your behavior in prison
- The likelihood you re-offend
Understanding how to convince a parole board that you are worthy of parole is essential to increase your chances of success. If you cannot persuade them, they may deny parole altogether or set a future date for another parole hearing. Both of which will mean a return to prison.
If a parole board decides to release you early from prison, you need to take care they do not change their mind. You need to ensure you abide by the restrictions the parole board places on you. Once you have tasted freedom, you do not want to give it up.