Here are some things to know about obtaining parole in Texas. First, if the inmate was convicted of a crime that included a finding that he or she used a deadly weapon, then the inmate must serve 50% of the sentence before the Parole Board will even look at his file. The same is true if the inmate was convicted of certain violent crimes, such as murder, aggravated assault, rape or abuse of children. Such convictions are called "aggravated" offenses, and sometimes "3G" offenses (which refers to the statute). On the other hand, if the sentence is not aggravated, say for drug possession, then the inmate will quickly become eligible for parole, roughly after serving 12 1/2% of his sentence.
After the inmate is sentenced, he will spend several weeks in the county jail before being sent to a classification unit for about 30 days. East Texas inmates go to the Gurney Unit outside Palestine for classification. At classification, the inmate is evaluated in several ways. The officials will determine what level of risk he poses and then transfer him to another unit to serve his time. Maximum security prisons are the most difficult. Trustee camps are the most bearable.
The inmate's best strategy is to cooperate with officials, be courteous to guards, avoid other inmates to the extent possible, take classes if offered, and participate in rehabilitation courses if available. We are often contacted by families when the inmate is being mistreated. Short of parole, there is little to nothing that a lawyer can do to improve an inmate's situation. The prison system has internal procedures that attorney cannot influence.
It is possible to request that an inmate be moved closer to family. We need a valid reason, such as medical hardship on an older parent, and supporting medical records. The prison system tries to accommodate transfer requests.
An inmate who has been convicted of a sex offense has a fair chance at parole. The Parole Board often seeks to move sex offense inmates into parole where they can be placed in restrictive supervision.
We have had the most success representing inmates charged with drug and alcohol offenses who can show desire and need for substance abuse rehabilitation. We have had the least success with inmates convicted of homicide, violent crimes against children, and teachers or coaches who have had improper relationships with students.
Learn more about parole in Texas or read about just some of our successful results in criminal law and parole cases. Contact the Volberding Law Firm for a consultation about how we can help with your case.