Parole: Early Release from Jail

Parole In Texas

When a person is sentenced to imprisonment in the Texas correctional system, they are assigned a certain length of time that they must serve before they can be released. In some cases, a person may have to serve the entire length of this sentence before they can qualify for release. However, in certain cases, a person may be allowed to obtain a release order before the actual term of their sentence is up.

This process is called parole. If a person meets the requirements for a parole release, they can be discharged from prison with a certain set of requirements to follow. The parole process can vary from case to case and not all inmates will qualify.

What Is Parole?

In simple terms, parole refers to a closely monitored release from incarceration. In a typical parole case, an inmate will be allowed to move back into a public area before their actual sentence has expired. In order to do so, they will have to get approval from a parole board and they must also abide by the terms of their release.

If they violate these conditions, they may be arrested and returned to prison to serve out the remainder of their sentences. They could also be forced to serve additional time for any new violations that they committed while out on parole.

Eligibility For Parole

Inmates in the Texas correctional system are not automatically entitled to parole. In general, they must earn this eligibility in one of two ways:

  1. By serving a predetermined portion of their sentence
  2. By working while in prison or abiding by the behavior standards of a correctional facility

When a person is convicted and sentenced, their date to qualify for parole eligibility is set. This date varies from case to case and is usually based on the amount of time that the defendant has been ordered to serve.

According to the Texas Government Code, an inmate who is convicted of an aggravated offense must remain incarcerated for one-third to one-half of his or her sentence before becoming eligible for parole. They must also serve a minimum term of two years before becoming eligible. Aggravated crimes include:

Additionally, an inmate convicted of an aggravated crime cannot earn extra progress towards their eligibility with good behavior or a work program.

A person convicted of a non-aggravated crime can gain time credits towards one-quarter of their sentence time with good behavior and a work program. However, earning eligibility is not a guarantee that parole will be granted.

Conditions of Parole

A person who is eligible for parole may appear before a parole board to plead their case. They will have to convince the board that they are sorry for their actions and that they have a plan to re-integrate into a responsible role in society.

If the parole board agrees that the inmate can be released, they will have to abide by the conditions of parole. This can include:

  • Abstaining from drugs and alcohol
  • Keeping a steady job and a suitable residence
  • Avoiding past criminal contacts or former gang associates
  • Attending substance abuse recovery meetings
  • Submitting to drug tests
  • Regularly meeting with a parole officer

In most cases, a parolee must stay on supervised release until their original sentence has expired. At that time, if they have followed all of the conditions of parole, they may be discharged from supervision.

Legal Assistance

It is not always easy to be granted parole or to keep up with all conditions of supervised release. Hiring a lawyer may be a great way to prepare for a parole hearing and to make sure that all conditions of parole are being followed.

If you have been charged with a crime, you deserve strong legal representation. The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp can help protect your rights. Contact Mr. Sharp today at (713) 868-6100.