View Full Version : Parole Hearings in Alabama - What Happens


danielle
07-23-2003, 07:13 PM
While this is still fresh on my mind, I want to share what happens at a parole hearing.

The notice given to the prisoner has the parole hearing date and states that people will be allowed to sign in from 6:30 am until 7:30 am in order to speak on the prisoner's behalf. Word to the wise - get there no later than 6:00 am. In fact, the earlier the better (thanks bamagirl for this tip!).

People begin lining up on the ramp by the door and the line seemed to become very long by 6:30 am.

Hearings are held in the order that YOU sign in. If you are the 3rd person there (as I was) then you will have the 3rd hearing. The later you arrive, the later your hearing and the longer you'll be at the parole board's office. I was third in line and got there just after 5:00 am.

The doors open automatically at 6:30 am. Everyone gets a numbered sheet - that equals the number you were in line. If there's 4 people there for the same prisoner, then they only fill out one sheet. There's a place for the prisoner's name and AIS # and each person's name and address and relationship to the prisoner.

You will be led to a large waiting room and at 7:30 am they pick up the sign-in sheets. The hearings don't begin until 9:00 am and you're free until then. I went and smoked a couple of cigarettes, put on some make-up and fixed my hair, and got a double dose of Mt. Dew. :)

At approximately 9:00 am the baliff (sp?) comes into the waiting room and briefly goes over the procedure. He then begins to call family members into the hearing room. Only one case is heard at a time and the people directly involved in that case are the only ones allowed in the hearing. The prisoner will not be at the hearing .

Once the name of your loved one is called, you go through a metal detector and into the hearing room. It's a large room with several rows of charis on the right and on the left is 2 tables with a podeum and a microphone between them. You stop at the first table and are sworn in by the baliff. Then go to the podeum and wait for the board to ask questions. Only two people are allowed to speak - everybody else sits in the gallery. The board asks questions and lets you talk for about 5 minutes.

They ask why the person should be released and how they've changed. They were nice and listened. Also, the opportunity did not present itself for presenting letters - it's better to have them mailed in ahead of time. They review the file before the hearing - that's when they'll see them.

The board is on a platform and they are raised above the gallery - so you'll be looking up the whole time. Since I went alone, it was the 3 members of the board, the secretary, and the baliff in the room. So you aren't speaking to a huge group of people.

Once they finished hearing the case and discussed it, they signed their votes. The secretary read the decision and it was over. The entire hearing took less than 10 minutes, but I knew when I left what their decision was.

One thing I'd like to add. My husband had a diciplinary, but it was really too stiff a punishment for what he'd done. One of the members began to rant about the diciplinary, until I pointed out that it was for taking some slices bologna from the kitchen where he worked. The board member then read the diciplinary and laughed. I really believe that had I not pointed this out, then they'd have denied his parole. In fact, one of the board members commented, "A diciplinary was a little harsh, wasn't it?" Being there makes a difference!

I'll add more as I think of it. :) Maybe this information will help someone along the way! :D

DeniseJJ
07-24-2003, 08:36 AM
tks....its info is sure to help us...when/if we ever get to the board....

danielle
07-24-2003, 07:11 PM
Maybe soon Denise! :)

If anyone else has anything to add, then please feel free. I just posted what I could remember happening - somebody else's experience might be totally different!

bamagirl032
07-27-2003, 12:50 AM
Think you bout covered it ALL!!:yes:
So glad things turned out great for you too!! He will be home before you know it!! Have FUN!!:dance:

Care9
08-05-2003, 07:26 AM
Thank you so much for this information, as I will be facing this in January sometime. The last time I was there to visit my husband, I went to the Hearings as a guest (Anyone can be a spectator) and sat in on about 6 or 7 cases. I walked in very intimidated. I walked out much more comfortable and encouraged by the process. So happened that they took a recess while I was there and when the (3) Board Members left the room, they stopped and asked me if I enjoyed myself, lol. I ended up chit-chatting with all 3 of them for about 5-6 minutes or so and then had a short, more private conversation with the Chairman as we walked out of the room together. He asked me what my husband's charge was and when I told him that he will have done 26 years of GOOD time when he comes up for parole in January, he looked at me and said "Well then, I will look forward to seeing YOU in January!" Hey, I realize I can't read anything into this and that's not why I brought it up. But it felt so good to be treated kindly by someone who has so much power over the future of our lives, ya know? When I told my husband what had transpired, he just laughed and said "Baby, I've been here for almost 26 years and I have NEVER heard of ANYBODY's wife meeting, shaking hands, and CHIT-CHATTING with all three members of the Parole Board!" :haha: I didn't PLAN it that way; it just happened I guess. But at any rate, I now am no longer timid about my opportunity to speak to them Officially and although certainly there is always the possibility of denial, there really is absolutely no reason they would not approve him this time. His home plan has never been better.....not to mention the focus on uncrowding the prisons right now.
After loving this man for 25+ years now, it's pretty exciting as the hearing gets closer. Also very frightening in some ways. (I've been my own boss (lol) for a lonnnng time!
I'm new to PTO and will have to check out the thread about those who are about to be released or who have recently been. (If I can find it that is)
~Care

bamadixiebelle
08-05-2003, 01:08 PM
I wish you all the luck in the world care9. 26 years is a very long time to be without the one you love!

danielle
08-05-2003, 06:13 PM
Good luck. Wow - I really admire you for sticking by him that long. Please, keep us updated.

E1950
08-11-2003, 05:19 PM
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INPUT ON THE PAROLE HEARINGS. I WILL BE GOING THROUGH THIS AS SOON AS THE SEPT 2002 HEARINGS ARE FINALLY HEARD! I HAVE LETTERS FROM THE WARDEN, CHAPLAIN, AND MANY C/O'S. SHOULD I MAIL THEM ON NOW OR WAIT UNTIL WE GET A DATE? WHAT ABOUT CERTIFICATES? SHOULD I ALSO MAIL THOSE AT THE SAME TIME? I AM FEELING OVERWHELMED BY ALL OF THIS, THE 10 YEARS I'VE WAITED FOR THIS TO FINALLY BE OVER, IS NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT I'M FEELING ABOUT THE HEARING. I'M SO AFRAID OF SAYING OR DOING SOMETHING TO UPSET THE BOARD. ANYWAY THANKS FOR THE INPUT..... SUE

danielle
08-11-2003, 06:04 PM
If it were me, I'd wait until he had a date. You'll get about a month's notice.

Anything you mail to the board, put "Attention Susan" on the envelope. She's the secretary for the board and otherwise you don't know whose hands it'll wind up in. Susan has managed to get everything I mailed to her attention in my husband's file. The letter that the DA mailed supporting my husband never made it. Thank goodness he'd also sent me a copy!

IM4U21DER
06-18-2004, 12:54 PM
thanks daniele, that will be helpful to a lot more than just me. i too am excited and afraid at the same time. wish i could have the same opportunity as you with the one on one. thanks again:thumbsup:

FreeJeffHavard
06-21-2004, 12:01 PM
My father has served 10 1/2 of his 20 year sentence. I was to scared to attend his hearing for fear they might deny him a 2nd time and being only 11 when he was locked up I couldnt handle hearing my 54 year old father would have to wait another 4 years to try again. But luckily Monday June 14th about 7:30 pm I got a phone to tell me that he was finally coming home. That was the best feeling in the world. Now does he not only have two children but five grandchildren. That are ages 6, 4, 4, 3, and 1. They all are eager to see pawpaw and it not to be in that jail for once. At the parole hearing they told my 82 year old grandmother that it would take 6 to 8 weeks to get all the paper work done. So we thought great another wait but to our suprise on Friday the 19th she got a call from his soon to be praole officer that he will be released on Monday the 28th of June. So now that we have only 6 days left to wait we are waiting and very impatiently. I hope everyone gets to have a ending like ours. With a loved one coming home.
Thank You for your support,
Jennifer

IM4U21DER
06-21-2004, 04:15 PM
congradulations jenn. i know every1 is very happy for this

FreeJeffHavard
07-12-2004, 09:10 AM
Just to update everyone my dad is home and it was a happy day for us all. tons of tears were shed that day. but he is enjoying his new life out of prison. In fact I think he has went to walmart every day. He just cant belive how things have changed. But he is finally on the right track. I hope everyone elses day is just as good.

Lysbeth
07-12-2004, 08:38 PM
How wonderful Jennifer. I am glad he is doing so well. That's cute about him going to Wal-Mart every day :D

My fear is Brian and the grocery store.... he loves food so much I may never get him out of there.... :D

nica01
07-22-2004, 12:32 PM
Hello everyone, I'm new to PTO and I cannot tell you how helpful this is. It's good not only to hear of others who are going thru this but also to get such useful information. Congratulations on your fathers release. Thanks also for the detailed step by step play of what to expect in the hearing, that is extremely helpful.

lace
07-22-2004, 01:30 PM
Welcome to PTO nica...this really is a great place!

E1950
07-22-2004, 03:55 PM
welcome to pto Nica
sue

nica01
07-23-2004, 11:55 AM
Thanks, I'm learning my way around.

GSPack
07-20-2005, 03:27 PM
Well Denise I found the original and thought I would send it to the top of the thread so that it is available for those of us that come up for hearings in the near future. I am glad I read the one you posted as it lead me to this one.

I need to search for her certificates IE GED and Welding classes. Do you think that even if the Character letters that her exemployers wrote several years ago should be sent....at least this would attest to her employability...that they would hire her back if she was ever released from prison?

Thanks and anyone elses input would be greatly appreciated!


Alabama Granny

DeniseJJ
07-21-2005, 02:14 PM
yes, anything postive you can get your hands on, but send it NOW, make copies to take with you to the hearing....nothing can hurt....dj