Laws in most civil societies prescribe punishments for wrong doers in a manner that it is meant to be restorative; in such societies, punishment is structured to be a form of social control to correct those people who do not obey the law of the land. Therefore, it becomes essential that the law also contain provisions for an early exit from the prison system for a detainee upon his demonstrating good behavior, understanding and accepting his crime and mistakes. This kind of a rehabilitation and main-streaming of prisoners is called parole and most prisoners will be eligible for one. And, there is only so much space for that many people in a country's prisons. The lighter side notwithstanding, it is not a cake walk to pass a parole hearing. You must satisfy the parole board and also overcome the victim's objections if any. Let us find out how to pass a parole hearing.
Firstly, find out the procedure for applying for parole. Normally a prescribed application form is available that needs to be completed by the detainee, signed and submitted to the relevant office. Wait for a case number to be assigned and a case manager to be allocated to your application. This officer will then be your communication point for intimation of the scheduling of parole hearings and other actions related to your application.
In a matter of a few weeks to a couple of years, depending upon the nature of crime and the length of sentence, parole requests are taken up by the parole board. Typically, a prisoner becomes eligible for parole upon completing one-third to half of the sentence. This varies from state to state in the United States of America. Once the prisoner is intimated of the parole hearing being scheduled, the following preparations will be helpful for passing a parole hearing.
- Speak to the prisoner's lawyer; ascertain chances for a successful parole hearing; also speak to social workers, prison rehabilitation agencies and even the local clergyman. All these people will have tips on how to pass the parole hearing. They make it their duty to provide relevant advice.
- Note that the victim and/or its family have a right of representation in a parole hearing. They may raise objections to the parole. Discuss the possible issues that may be raised with the prisoner's lawyer and prepare adequate and satisfactory responses to these objections.
- The case manager or case worker and a parole board representative are good sources for advice in these matters.
- It is not necessary that a decision is to be taken immediately upon the parole hearing. Also, it is not always the case that a prisoner makes it to parole during the first hearing itself.
- In the event of not making it to parole, the prisoner may wait for the next opportunity to file for parole.
- Of course, there is an appeal process - an application may be made to a national appeals board if the prisoner is not satisfied with the ruling of the parole board in its hearing.
The tenure of sentence, nature of crime committed and subsequent good behavior of the prisoner is often the deciding factors. These are some pointers for passing a parole hearing.