How to Write a Letter of Support to the Parole Board of TDC

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The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is tasked with determining if an inmate in the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) is ready to return to society after serving time for a crime. When an inmate you know is preparing for a parole hearing, it is often helpful to submit a letter to the parole board on his or her behalf. An effective letter can be drafted by following a few tips.

Address your letter appropriately. Address your letter to the attention of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Only one letter need be sent, as it will be placed in the offender's case file that is reviewed one at a time by each board member considering the case. Reference the inmate's name and TDC identification number.

Explain who you are. Tell the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles your name, your relationship to the inmate, how long you have known him or her and any other relevant details to indicate you are a stable person. For instance, if you have been a police officer or school teacher for 10 years, that would be a fact to include.

Review the list of factors the board considers. These include the seriousness of the offense, sentence length, amount of time served, offender's age, juvenile history, criminal history, number of prison incarcerations, other arrests and participation in suggested programs while incarcerated. Point out any of these areas that will favorably reflect on the inmate for whom you are writing. For instance, if he or she was only 17 at the time of the crime and had no prior offenses, this would be worth mentioning. Also, if he or she completed a suggested anger-management class and you have noticed a change in personality when speaking with him or her, point this out in your letter.

Include support details upon release. Describe the support system that will be in place to assist the inmate upon release. The parole board will be interested in where the inmate will reside, how he or she will obtain transportation, potential employment opportunities, treatment programs to attend and other details to indicate he or she has family and friends available to help him adjust to life outside the TDC.

Mail your letter. Send your support letter to Review and Release Processing, TDCJ Parole Division, Post Office Box 13401, Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711.

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About the Author

Kelli Peacock Dunn has been a news editor and photographer since 1998, working at a weekly newspaper in Northwest Florida. Her articles have also appeared in "Panama City Living" magazine and "The Lookout."