Different parties may seek to challenge a parole board's decision for various reasons. A convict may want to overturn a refusal for parole to gain his freedom, and the victim of a crime may seek to prevent that very outcome to keep himself and his community safe. Modern parole boards do offer both convicts and victims the means to fight an undesired decision. Regardless of their aims, however, anyone seeking to fight a parole board decision will want to know how to do it.
To challenge a grant of parole
Write a report to the board deciding the convict's parole to outline any information. The board may then treat that document as a victim's impact statement. Any such written statement will remain in the convict's file after the parole hearing, but the convict will also be able to review it.
Present the board with evidence of the convict's failure to observe the rules of his prison. A limited number of offenses may not result in the denial of parole, but any offense may count as a reason to keep the convict in prison.
Present the the court with evidence of the ex-convict's violation of parole. During parole, the convict must obey all laws and must also ask his parole agent for permission to travel more than 50 miles from his residence, to leave his county of residence for more than two days or to leave the state. He must also avoid all guns, anything with the appearance of weapon and certain kinds of ammunition, such as flechette darts and explosive bullets. Furthermore, he cannot have sharpened knives longer than two inches, except in his kitchen or for use at his work, and the court may impose other restrictions, such as a requirement for employment or to live in a halfway house. Violation of one or more of these rules may result in loss of parole.
To Challenge a Denial of Parole
Apply for shock probation. In Ohio, Kentucky and other states (see Resources), a first-time offender may be able to ask the original judge of your case to release you after a certain period of confinement. The law may forbid him from releasing violent or sexual offenders through this program, but he may be willing to apply it in other cases.
File an appeal with the Parole Hearing Officers' Division or the equivalent office in your state. New evidence about your guilt, evidence of misconduct by the hearing's official or evidence of significant procedural errors during your hearing may constitute reasons for the appeal of a parole decision.
Ask the governor for a pardon. Your state may, in fact, have a system for the consideration of pardons, though it may only grant them in the case of terminal illness.
- United States Department of Justice: United States Parole Commission: Answering Your Questions
- Government of Kentucky: Shock Probation in Felony Conviction: Procedure
- California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation: Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO): Parolee Conditions
- Tennessee Government: Board of Probation and Parole: Hearing Officers Division
- Commonwealth of Virginia: Virginia Parole Board: Administrative Procedures Manual
- State of Iowa: Shock Probation Programs
- United States Court of Appeals: Cayetano Hernandez versus Wayne Scott and Dan Morales
- Court of Appeals of Ohio: State of Ohio vs. Glenn Edward Greene
- Court of Appeals of Indiana: James E. Manley vs. State of Indiana
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