Parole Review

Parole Review Process

When a person is sentenced to prison, the Judge will send the sentence and judgment to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for a calculation of time. The sentence and judgment will indicate how many days credit the Judge has given the person. TDCJ will then calculate the date the person is eligible for Parole review.

Six months prior to their initial parole eligibility and four months prior to subsequent review dates, TDCJ will pull the inmate’s case file for review. Notice of review is sent to trial officials, victims, and victim family members. An Institutional Parole Officer (IPO) will interview the inmate and prepare a case summary for the Board. Approximately thirty days later, the case summary and inmate’s file is sent to the designated Board office for review and vote by a Parole Panel. Texas is divided into seven regions and a Parole panel is assigned to each region. A panel consists of three members and a majority of two votes is needed for a final decision. If the Board’s decision is to deny release, a “next review date” will be set for the next time the Board will review the inmate’s Parole release, usually at least one year away.

Parole Presentations

Inmates are not usually able to speak to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. They are not given legal representation during the review process. However, it is usually beneficial for the inmate to retain a Parole attorney to represent him or her. No attorney can guarantee a successful result, but the inmate should have an experienced Parole attorney who is committed to their case. A skillful Parole attorney can effectively mitigate negative information in an inmate’s criminal history and emphasize the positive aspects of the inmate’s life. Dale Heisch can show the Board how your loved one is special and different from the thousands of other inmates and deserves to be released from prison.

Only a licensed attorney can provide professional Parole representation and speak for the inmate. A "do it yourself" Parole packet or non-attorney assistance will not effectively help your loved one. Dale Heisch can develop positive information on behalf of an inmate that can show rehabilitation, mitigation of the conviction, an explanation of the circumstances of the offense, potential employment, transportation, and support of his or her loved ones. This positive information can increase his or her chance for successful release.

Parole Violations

Violations of Rules and Conditions

Parolees have specified rules and conditions of their Parole release and they are expected to comply with them. If a Parole Officer believes that a Parolee has violated rules or conditions of his or her release, the Officer has the option of submitting a Violation Report or utilizing other sanctions. If the Parole Officer submits a Violation Report, a Parole warrant might be issued for the arrest of the Parolee. This Parole warrant is known as a “blue warrant.”

Release from a Parole Warrant

Being arrested for a Parole warrant does not always require the Parolee is required to remain in jail. Under some circumstances, a Parolee has the ability to post bond on the Parole warrant. Also, under Texas Government Code § 508.256, at any time before the setting of a revocation hearing, the Parole Division may withdraw a warrant and continue supervision of an offender.

Law Violations

If a Parolee is accused of committing a new crime, he or she is entitled to a Preliminary Hearing. This Hearing is known as a probable cause hearing. The Parole Officer has to prove evidence of probable cause in order to keep the Parole warrant in effect. The Parole Division’s general policy is to keep Parolees accused of a new crime in jail until the criminal charges have been completely adjudicated. This process may take months or years to take care of the criminal case. Under the law, the Parole Division is allowed to keep a Parolee in custody past their scheduled discharge date as long as the Parole warrant is in effect. After the criminal case is completed, the Parole Officer will then schedule a Revocation Hearing for the Parolee.

While the Parolee is waiting for the criminal charges to adjudicate, the Parole Officer still has the option of withdrawing the Parole warrant under Texas Government Code § 508.256. This is very important because it may take a long time for the criminal charges to adjudicate. Dale Heisch can assist the release of the Parole warrant by speaking with the appropriate Parole supervisors. However, there are no guarantees that the Parole Division will ever agree to releasing the Parole warrant.

Technical Violations

If a Parolee is only accused of violating technical rules or conditions of Parole and is not accused of a new crime, then the Parolee will be scheduled for a Revocation Hearing. This hearing is normally within two weeks of the arrest date. Under some circumstances, the Parolee is able to post bond on the Parole warrant while waiting for the Revocation Hearing. Again, Texas Government Code § 508.256 allows the Parole Officer to withdraw the Parole warrant to utilize other options. He will also represent your loved one at the Parole hearings to fight the allegations that have been levied.

Coleman Hearings

The Parole Division will sometimes request the Board of Pardons and Paroles to impose sex offender conditions on Parolees who have never been convicted of a sex offense. The Coleman v. Dretke, Meza v. Livingston, and Ex Parte Evans court cases have demanded the Board allow the Parolee to have a hearing to contest the imposition of these sex offender conditions. The Parolee will be required to have a sex offender evaluation and polygraph. Depending upon the results of the evaluation and polygraph, the Board may decide to notify the individual that they intend to impose sex offender conditions. In that situation, the Parolee will be scheduled for a sex offender condition hearing, known as a Coleman Hearing.

Coleman hearings often take place years after an alleged sexual act. It is very difficult to defend this alleged conduct so long after the incident. The accused Parolee should consult with an attorney as soon as they are given notice that they will be evaluated for possible imposition of sex offender conditions of parole. If Dale Heisch is timely retained, he will arrange for a second evaluation and polygraph using experts of his and Client’s own choosing. This second opinion evidence will then be presented during the Coleman Hearing along with positive witness testimony. Sex offender conditions can have devastating consequences and should always be vigorously defended.