Preparing for your Parole Board Interview
Tips on preparing for your hearing before the Parole Board, and what to do if you are denied parole.
Preparing Documents for the Parole BoardThe Parole Board will generally consider many documents when deciding whether to grant you parole. These include your sentencing minutes, COMPAS risk assessment, disciplinary record during incarceration, records of your jobs and programs during incarceration, and your prior criminal history. You may also have family, friends, or members from your community write letters on your behalf. You may want to hire an attorney to write an advocacy letter to the Parole Board explaining why you should be granted parole. Any relevant documents can be attached to that letter, and an attorney can help you determine what documents will be most helpful.
Preparing for the InterviewKeep in mind what the Parole Board is looking for when it makes its decision. They want to see that you are making the most of your opportunities to rehabilitate yourself - that means education, jobs, and programs during your incarceration. The Parole Board likes to see that the applicant has a plan for when they are released. Where will you live, and what skills or knowledge do you have that will help you find a means to support yourself? Also, importantly, the Parole Board wants to believe that you won't reoffend when you're released. In order to convince them of this, they want to see that you appreciate the gravity of your crime. In some cases, this requires deep introspection on the applicant's part so that they come to terms with the ways their decision hurt others--not just any direct victims and their families, but the applicant's family too. The Parole Board wants to see the applicant take accountability. The Board has seen a lot of people express remorse and believes that they know whether someone is being sincere.
I Got Denied. Can I Appeal?If you are denied parole, you might consider appealing that decision. In New York, you must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the date that you receive written notice of the Board's decision. One basis for overturning a denial is where the Parole Board made its decision relying almost exclusively on the crime underlying the applicant's incarceration. The Parole Board is required to consider multiple factors in their decision, not just the crime that landed you in prison.
When Denied Parole, Preparing for your Next HearingEven if you don't appeal, or if your appeal is unsuccessful, you can take proactive steps to prepare for your next hearing if you will be going before the Parole Board again. Stay active in programs, jobs, and educational opportunities. Remain in good disciplinary standing. Keep thinking about the factors above and what you can do to convince the Parole Board that you are not only at a low risk of reoffending, but that you will be an asset to society upon release.