How to Fight a Parole Board Decision

By John Comerford
Different people may have different interests in a parole hearing.

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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

The court should know about the crime's effect on you.

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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.

Convicts most obey the rules of the prison.

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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.

Parolees must follow the rules of their release.

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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

Shock Probation may grant you and early release.

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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.

Convicts can appeal parole decisions.

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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.

About the Author

John Comerford writes for "Discuss America," having previously worked for the same editor on Yahoo's "Third Party and Independents" page. He has written for "The South Shore Skeptic" and he won 1st place in WriteOn's 2010 competition for a travel article on a place the writer had never visited.

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