An individual can learn an inmate’s parole release date by contacting the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) by email or telephone. The TDCJ can provide the inmate’s projected release date, as well as their status and location, and there is no charge for this service. The person requesting an inmate's release date needs to have certain information about the inmate, such as their TDCJ inmate number or their SID number. A SID number is the number a jail assigns to the inmate when they are first booked.
Information Needed for Email Inquiry
When an individual makes an inquiry by email, they should provide the inmate’s full name and seven-digit TDCJ number to: email@example.com. If they do not know the TDCJ number, they should provide the inmate’s exact date of birth, and if they do not know that date, they should share the inmate’s approximate age and county of conviction. The requesting party should also include the inmate’s name in the subject line of the email.
Requests by Telephone
Before the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) votes to release the inmate on parole, the requesting party can call the Board of Pardons and Paroles status line at 844-512-0461. After the BPP has voted to release the inmate, the requesting party can call the Parole Division status line in Austin at 512-406-5202.
At this point, the requesting party must have the inmate’s TDCJ or SID number, or their date of birth. A requesting party can call the inmate locator/general information line in Huntsville at 936-295-6371 or 800 -535-0283. If they do not know the inmate’s TDCJ or SID number, they must provide the exact date of birth of the inmate when making a telephone request.
Inmate's Projected Release Date
An inmate’s projected release date is set by the date and nature of the offense. An inmate who committed an offense prior to September 1, 1996, with the offense being legally eligible for mandatory supervision, will be released on their projected release date if they are not paroled. The projected release date is determined as their scheduled release date to mandatory supervision, if not paroled before that, when the time credits – flat time served plus good time earned – equal their total sentence.
An inmate who committed an offense on September 1, 1996 or after, and is by law eligible for mandatory supervision, will be released from a correctional facility at the discretion of the BPP. Here, too, the time credits should equal their total sentence. For an inmate who is not approved for release by the BPP or who is not eligible for mandatory supervision, the projected release date is the discharge date.
If an inmate is incarcerated for an offense that is by law ineligible for non-mandatory supervision, the projected release date matches their maximum expiration date when their time credits (flat time only) equals their total sentence. The sentence is discharged when released, if they were not paroled before that.
Types of Releases
The TDCJ Parole Division supervises three types of releases: mandatory supervision releases, discretionary mandatory releases and parole. Mandatory supervision is an automatic release from prison to supervision. A release does not require the approval of BPP. Discretionary mandatory supervision requires BPP’s review. The Board must review eligible offenders on or before their eligibility date, and has discretion to grant or deny release.
Parole is the release of an offender by a decision of BPP. The Board has complete discretion to grant or deny parole on a case-by-case basis. A parolee may include an offender released on Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision (MRIS). This program was previously known as Special Needs Parole. It is an early release program for nonviolent offenders who pose no threat to public safety and are terminally ill, physically handicapped, mentally ill or have an intellectual developmental disorder.
Parole Review Process
The Parole Division of the TDCJ identifies an offender six months before the offender’s initial parole eligibility and four months before subsequent review dates. The Division directs the case file to be pulled for review. The Division then sends notice that the offender is up for review to trial officials, victims and victim family members. Next, an Institutional Parole Officer (IPO) of the BPP interviews the offender and prepares a parole case summary for the Board.
After this, the offender's file is sent to the designated board office for review and vote by a Parole Panel. The panel is made up of three voting members, with a majority of two votes needed for a final decision. Voting is sequential, with one panel member recording their vote and passing it to the next panel member.
If the first two votes are the same, the vote is final. If the first two votes are different, the third panel member reviews the case and breaks the tie. The Parole Panel has discretion to interview the offender or individuals in support or opposition of an offender’s release to parole. Parole Panel members must grant an interview to victims upon request.
Notifying the Offender of the Release Decision
An offender is notified of the Parole Panel’s decision via correspondence. A denial will include the next review date. An approval may include special conditions. Case tracking and case analysis staff at BPP’s central office are responsible for reviewing and processing offenders for release to supervision.
After analysts review an inmate’s case and determine whether they are eligible for release, the analysts issue the release certificate. In some instances, if an inmate completes the program more than 30 days before the target release date, BPP will reconsider the release date. An inmate who is denied parole will be told why they were granted or denied parole.
Terms of Release on Parole
When an inmate who is released on parole violates the terms of the release, the Parole Division may utilize local sanctions to redirect behavior. These include counseling, conferences, or a letter of reprimand. An inmate who is alleged to have committed a new offense, absconded from supervision, or who violates the rules, terms or conditions of their release may have a warrant issued for their arrest.
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice: Parole Division, Review and Release Processing
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice: Parole Division, Frequently Asked Questions
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice: Parole Division, Types of Releases
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice: Inmate Information
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice: Inmate Information, Requests by Telephone
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice: Definitions and Acronyms
- Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles: Parole/Mandatory Supervision Information
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.