Myths and Truths About the Parole Process

Myth: The Parole Commission meets as a group in a formal hearing to decide whether an offender should be paroled.

Truth: The commissioners conduct an individual review of the offender's file and vote independently.


Myth: Offenders apply for or request parole.

Truth: Offenders become eligible for parole according to governing laws at the time of the offense.


Myth: The Governor can overturn the Parole Commission's decisions.

Truth: The Commission has exclusive authority in parole matters. There is no appeal process.


Myth: The Parole Commission meets face to face with the offender during the parole review process.*

Truth: The Commission does not meet with the offender. Parole decisions are based on information in an offender's case file that was requested and/or received, information from the Division of Prisons, and views of victims, family members, and any other interested parties.

*As a result of federal court litigation, parole candidates convicted as juveniles and sentenced to Life with the Possibility of Parole are permitted to appear via video-conferencing technology before a Commissioner and a designated parole case analyst for a thirty minute review hearing. 


Myth: Commissioners place incarcerated offenders in community-based programs (work release, home leaves, etc.).

Truth: The Commission has no jurisdiction over the placement of offenders in community-based programs while they are incarcerated. The Commission gives final approval for work release placement in life sentence cases, but takes action only after receiving a recommendation from the Division of Prisons.


Myth: All of the Commissioners must agree to deny or approve parole for offenders.

Truth: The majority of the Commission must agree to deny or approve parole for all eligible offenders.


Myth: The Commission doesn't have to review cases every year.

Truth: Once an offender has met parole eligibility requirements, the Commission must review the case at a minimum of once per year, with the exception of offenders convicted of 1st or 2nd degree murder. These cases are reviewed every three years, with the exception of offenders convicted of sexually violent offenses. These cases are reviewed every two years.