After incarceration, the justice system can perform what it considers to be an act of grace, rather than a right, in allowing a prisoner to be released on parole. However, parole is the perfect example of a word everyone knows, but few outside of the system understand.

Because of this view of parole as a gift from the system, prisoners have virtually no rights or protections in parole hearings. They don’t have a right to present a case or a right to have a case heard. They don’t have a right to rebut evidence or even a right to hear evidence against them. The parole board, which is made up of laypeople in most states, with the other states not necessarily requiring a certain level of education for its members, makes a decision based on whatever it has in front of them; whether it be the prisoner or just a case file with his name on it. Oftentimes, the board is never even introduced to the prisoner because the whole decision is made based on an individual’s record.

The possibility of being put on parole is part of the sentencing process. A judge determines the length of incarceration and includes a quick line about whether the prisoner is eligible for parole after a certain number of years. For that reason, it is not considered letting a prisoner out early when he is released on parole. In order to be released, the parole board must meet. They make their decision with much discretion, despite somewhat sturdy guidelines.

This is especially scary when you considered the fact that parole boards set the terms of parole, so long after one is released from prison, he may still have an obligation to his parole officer based on the board’s decision. However, getting to even that point is tricky because the board owes no one favors. In fact, they may give a prisoner a task, insinuating that, upon the completion of said task, the prisoner will earn release. Instead, the board may deny release even after the prisoner performs the request. There are no rules laid out for prisoners stating exactly what they must do to be let out on parole.

Perhaps the most disheartening of all the statistics and facts on parole, is that the least-likely repeat offenders are those that are violent offenders. Yet, these prisoners are also the least likely to ever get parole, which has completely blurred the line between a sentence of life without parole and life with parole eligibility.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, or their professional license is at risk, contact Attorney Miranda McCroskey for an immediate consultation at (833) 865-6253 or email her at

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