Parole in Texas
People who are serving prison sentences in Texas anxiously look forward to the day when they become eligible for early release. The possibility of parole means the possibly of being reunited with family and regaining some semblance of a normal life. The process of obtaining an early release is far more complex than just a single favorable hearing appearance.
The truth is that success in these types of matters often requires hard work several months in advance of such hearings. Panel members need to be convinced there is a very low level of likelihood of recidivism for offenders and they can once again become productive members of society.
Houston Parole Lawyer
If you or your loved one will be eligible for parole in the near future, it is in your best interest to begin seeking legal representation for him or her right now. Houston lawyer Matt Horak has more than a dozen years of experience prosecuting and defending people throughout Harris County.
Horak Law also represents clients in several surrounding areas of Southeast Texas, including Galveston County, Waller County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, and Brazoria County. Call our firm at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at [phone-tollfree] to receive a complete review of your case during a confidential consultation.
Texas Parole Information Center
- What is the difference between parole and mandatory supervision?
- How does the type of crime affect eligibility?
- When do people become eligible for this kind of release?
- What is the general process in these cases?
- Where can I find additional information about this topic?
Parole v. Mandatory Supervision in Texas
In Texas, offenders who complete their entire sentences receive a direct discharge from state custody. Some offenders are able to gain early release through either parole or mandatory supervision.
Under Texas law, parole is a form of release that allows offenders to serve the remainder of their sentences under supervision in the community. In order to receive parole, these prisoners serve enough of their sentences to be eligible and also receive the approval of a parole panel.
With mandatory supervision the inmate earns a supervised release after enough of the sentence is served and the inmate accrues enough good conduct time. The term “good conduct time” is defined to include time credited for good behavior and participating in work and self-improvement programs while incarcerated.
Despite the different titles, there are similarities between these two forms of release. In either case, offenders will still be under supervision, can have certain conditions of release imposed on them by the parole panel, and a violation of such conditions can possibly lead to revocation of the supervision.
Effects of Convictions on Parole Eligibility
Under Texas Government Code § 508.145, prisoners convicted of less serious offenses are eligible for their first review for release on parole when their amount of time served and good conduct time totals one-fourth of the sentence imposed or 15 years, whichever is less. The wait is longer for offenders who have been convicted of more serious offenses.
Texas law places limits early release for people convicted of crimes listed under Section 3g of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 42.12 (commonly referred to as “3g offenses”). Under this provision, inmates are ineligible for mandatory supervision if they are serving sentences or have been previously convicted of offenses listed under Texas Government Code §508.149(a).
The 3g offenses include:
- Capital murder;
- Indecency with a child;
- Aggravated kidnapping;
- Aggravated sexual assault;
- Aggravated robbery;
- Sexual assault;
- Injury to a child;
- Injury to an elderly person;
- Injury to a disabled individual;
- Sexual performance by a child;
- Criminal solicitation;
- Compelling prostitution;
- Trafficking of persons; or
- First-degree felony burglary.
Offenders will not eligible for mandatory supervision under Texas Government Code §508.149(a) if they have been convicted of any of the violent offenses listed above or any one of the following:
- First-degree arson;
- Second-degree robbery;
- Any offense with an affirmative finding of a deadly weapon;
- A felony increased under the Health and Safety Code (Drug-Free Zone violations);
- First- or second-degree aggravated assault; or
- Continuous sexual abuse of a young child.
Determining Dates of First Parole Review Eligibility in Texas
Generally, offenders with the following criminal sentences will be eligible for their first reviews at the times indicated. Because parole review boards will begin looking into these cases months in advance, a prisoner should retain legal counsel as soon as possible in these matters.
The following information may also be affected by the date of a conviction as well as any promotion or demotion in their ability to earn good conduct time. Prisoners convicted of Texas Government Code §508.149(a) and 3g offenses are not eligible for mandatory supervision:
Number of Years on Sentence
All Other Offenses
1 month, 13 days
5 months, 21 days
2 months, 25 days
11 months, 8 days
4 months, 8 days
1 years, 5 months, 2 days
5 months, 21 days
1 years, 10 months, 22 days
2 years, 6 months
7 months, 3 days
2 years, 4 months, 12 days
8 months, 15 days
2 years, 10 months, 3 days
3 years, 6 months
10 months, 0 days
3 years, 3 months, 20 days
11 months, 8 days
3 years, 9 months, 16 days
4 years, 6 months
1 year, 24 days
4 years, 3 months, 4 days
1 year, 2 months, 8 days
4 years, 8 months, 24 days
7 years, 6 months
1 year, 9 months, 9 days
7 years, 1 months, 6 days
2 years, 4 months, 12 days
9 years, 5 months, 18 days
12 years, 6 months
2 years, 11 months, 15 days
11 years, 10 months
3 years, 6 months, 18 days
14 years, 2 months, 12 days
17 years, 6 months
4 years, 1 months, 21 days
16 years, 6 months, 24 days
4 years, 9 months
18 years, 11 months, 6 days
22 years, 6 months
5 years, 4 months, 3 days
21 years, 3 months, 18 days
5 years, 11 months, 8 days
23 years, 8 months
27 years, 6 months
6 years, 6 months, 11 days
26 years, 12 days
7 years, 1 months, 15 days
28 years, 4 months, 24 days
7 years, 1 months, 15 days
Parole Review Process
The Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) will identify prisoners either six months prior to their first eligible review or four months priors to subsequent reviews and direct their cases to be pulled for the reviews. Not all cases require interviews or hearings, as appropriate counseling or treatment during incarceration can lead to approval for release.
If the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles does wish to further review the case, it will have an Institutional Parole Officer (IPO) interview the offender and prepare a parole case summary for the Board. The prisoner’s file will then be sent to the designated board office for review and vote by a Parole Panel.
This panel generally consists of three voting members, and voting is sequential. This means one-panel member records his or her vote and passes it to the next panel member. The vote is final if the first two votes are the same, but the third-panel member reviews the case to break any ties.
Certain crimes can require a review by the entire parole board instead of the three-member panel. These are not just “yes” or “no” votes, as panel members have several voting options. Denial votes include:
- NR (Next Review) — Offender is not ready for parole, but can receive subsequent review within one to five years;
- SA (Serve All) — Offender is not ready for parole and no future reviews will be scheduled;
- CU-NR — The panel denies favorable action and sets the next review in consecutive sentence case;
- CU-SA — Offender is required to serve all of his or her current sentences in consecutive sentence case; or
- DMS — The panel denies mandatory supervision and sets the next review date because the offender’s release would endanger the public.
Board or panel also have several different kinds of approval votes:
- FI-1 (Further Investigation 1) — Offender is released on parole supervision as soon as he or she is eligible;
- FI-2 — Offender is released on parole on a specified future date;
- FI-3R — Offender is transferred to a TDCJ rehabilitation program for at least four months with release on parole after completion;
- FI-4R — Offender is transferred to a Sex Offender Education Program (SOEP) for at least four months with release on parole after completion;
- FI-5 — Offender is transferred to an In-Prison Therapeutic Community Program (IPTC), with release to an aftercare component;
- FI-6 — Offender is transferred to DWI rehabilitation program with release to continuum of care program;
- FI-6R — Offender is transferred to a rehabilitation program for at least six months with release on parole after completion;
- FI-7R — Offender is transferred to Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) for at least seven months with release on parole after completion;
- FI-9R — Offender is transferred to the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-9) for at least nine months with release on parole after completion.
- FI-18R — Offender is transferred to the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-18) or the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) for at least 18 months with release on parole after completion;
- CU-FI — This designates the date an offender serving consecutive sentences would have been eligible for parole if single sentence; or
- RMS — Offender is released to mandatory supervision.
The board can withdraw an approval vote at any time it receives new information.
Texas Prison and Jail Resources
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles — Visit the home page of the state agency responsible for determining whether prisoners can be released on parole or discretionary mandatory supervision as well as the conditions of such supervision. You can find the latest news about the agency, an overview of general parole guidelines, and answers to frequently asked questions on this page.
Offense Severity Rankings List — This Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles page lists the rankings of more than 2,600 criminal offenses in Texas. Each offense is assigned a ranking of Low (L), Moderate (M), High (H), or Highest (H+). This page can give inmates and family members a better idea of how seriously the board of panel will treat the prisoner’s underlying crime.
Chapter 508 of the Texas Government Code — You can read all of the statutory language relating to parole and mandatory supervision on this page. In addition to legal definitions, you can also learn more about the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Pardon and Paroles Division, release procedures, discretionary conditions of parole or mandatory supervision, and hearings and sanctions.
Find a Lawyer in Houston for Parole Reviews
Will you or your loved one soon be eligible for parole in Texas? Do not attempt to undertake this extremely complicated and stressful part of the criminal process by yourself.
Matt Horak is a criminal defense attorney in Houston, TX, who helps clients all over Harris County and surrounding areas, including Richmond-Rosenberg, Galveston, Sugar Land, Spring, Missouri City, Pearland, The Woodlands, Pasadena, League City, and Conroe. Horak Law will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at [phone-tollfree] to schedule a initial consultation.