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California Parole, Probation & Release All information & questions relating to parole, probation or release in California should be posted here.

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Old 01-25-2006, 01:44 AM
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Default Parole & Revocation Hearing Process

The Board of Parole Hearings

Parole revocation hearings determine whether a preponderance of evidence is present to show a good cause finding that the parolee has violated any law or condition of parole. Parolees may be returned to custody for up to 12 months with a good cause finding. Typically, the hearing is presided over by a deputy hearing, and is considered administrative by nature. Present at the hearing are the agent of record, the parolee, a hearing agent, requested witnesses and an attorney for the parolee.
In November, 2003, the Board of Parole Hearings (formerly known as the Board of Prison Terms) and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (formerly known as the Department of Corrections) reached a court-approved settlement to resolve a decade-long class action lawsuit brought by inmates against the State of California. The suit alleged that the state’s parole revocation process violated the inmates’ constitutional rights to a timely hearing.
The settlement, approved and monitored by the U.S. District Court, requires the BPH to administer a Remedial Plan to ensure that parole revocation proceedings are conducted within legally established time limits, while preserving the due process legal rights of inmates.
The Remedial Plan streamlines the parole revocation process, including consolidating some existing procedures, so that all cases will be adjudicated within 35 days. Changes began July 2004 and the plan was fully in place by July, 2005 to comply with the court.
Among the changes:
All alleged parole violators will be assigned an attorney at the beginning of the hearing process after being apprised of the charges against them and a settlement offer. This will consolidate some procedures that are now administered separately and to protect parolees’ legal rights, including protections called for in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
All alleged parole violators will have a probable cause hearing within 10 days to determine whether or not there is sufficient justification to proceed to a hearing, unless the parolee waives that right or asks for a continuance.
All parole revocation cases will be adjudicated within 35 days, unless the parolee requests a continuance.
The complete settlement document (Valdivia v Schwarzenegger) is available here.


All inquiries should be sent to:

Board of Parole Hearings
1515 K St., Suite 600
Sacramento, CA 95814
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2006, 02:23 AM
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Default Parole Hearing Process

Only inmates sentenced to life in prison(Indeterminate Sentenced), with the possibility of parole, are subject to suitability hearings by the BPH. Some life inmates are sentenced without the possibility of parole. All prison inmates in California who are not serving life sentences (known as Determinate Sentences) are released on parole after serving the sentence imposed by the court and are supervised by the Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Inmates serving life sentences become eligible for parole hearings automatically, one year prior to their minimum eligible parole date (MEPD). Being scheduled for a parole hearing is no indication of the inmate’s suitability for release from prison. Whether inmates are found suitable for parole is a judgment of the BPH hearing panel. These inmates are sentenced to the possibility of parole, not the assurance of it, recognizing that their maximum potential sentence is life.
It is not uncommon for inmates to receive many parole hearings before they are found suitable for release. By law, murderers can be denied parole for up to five years at a time, although denials for shorter time periods are also granted. Inmates serving a life sentence for crimes other than murder can be denied parole for up to two years at a time.
Suitability criteria
Parole hearings are not to decide guilt or innocence. The BPH accepts as fact the guilty verdict imposed by the courts. The purpose of a parole hearing is to determine if or when an inmate can be returned to society. Under normal circumstances, the panel or the Board shall set a release date unless it determines that the gravity of the crime (offense), or the timing and gravity of current or past convictions, requires a more lengthy period of incarceration to ensure public safety.
In general, some of the factors considered by the panel and which are discussed in the hearing include:
  • counseling reports and psychological evaluations
  • behavior in prison (ie, disciplinary notices or laudatory accomplishments)
  • vocational and educational accomplishments in prison
  • involvement in self-help therapy programs that can range from anti-addiction programs for drugs and alcohol to anger management
  • parole plans, including where an inmate would live and support themselves if they were released
The California Supreme Court in January, 2005 ruled that in denying parole suitability that “the overriding statutory concern for public safety in the individual case trumps any expectancy the indeterminate life inmate may have in a term of comparative equality with those served by other similar offenders. Section 3041 does not require the Board to schedule such an inmate’s release when it reasonably believes that the gravity of the commitment offense indicates a continuing danger to the public, simply to ensure the length of the inmate’s confinement will not exceed that of others who committed similar crimes. The Dannenberg court also noted that when the Board of Prison Term bases a finding that an inmate, who is sentenced to an indeterminate life term, is unsuitable for parole on the circumstances of the commitment offense, it must cite some evidence of aggravating facts beyond the minimum elements of the crime.”
The complete Supreme Court ruling Dannenburg is available here
Inmates are entitled to legal counsel, which may be a private attorney or one appointed by the BPH. The District Attorney from the prosecuting county may make a presentation opposing or supporting parole. Crime victims or their families are entitled to present a 15 minute Victims Impact Statement, the result of Proposition 8, the Crime Victims Bill of Rights, 1982).
Public Comment
Any person may submit information to the BPH concerning any inmate or parolee. When deciding whether to release an inmate on parole, the BPH considers all information received from the public. Written comments should be directed to the Classification and Parole Representative at the prison where the hearing will be conducted. Those comments will be included in the inmate's or parolee's Central File and will be considered by future hearing panels. Communications opposing an inmate's release on parole may be placed in the confidential section of the Central File. The names and addresses of those writing are considered confidential.
If denied parole
The inmate’s next hearing is scheduled to reflect the decision, ie one year later if the denial is for one year.
If granted parole
The decision is subject to review, part of a checks and balances system to ensure public safety is not compromised. They include:
  • a review by the BPH staff in Sacramento (within 120 days) to determine if there are any errors of law or fact
  • the Office of the Governor has the discretion to review the decision (within 30 days). The options available to the Governor include:
    • allowing the decision to stand by taking no action or chosing not to review it within the 30 days
    • actively approving the decision to parole
    • modifying the decision, (ie adding a parole condition or changing a parole date)
    • referring the decision back to the BPH so that all of the Commissioners can reconsider the panel's decision
    • reversing the decision to grant parole in murder cases only, the result of Proposition 89, adopted in 1988

Last edited by NuBeginning; 02-11-2006 at 02:40 AM..
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  #3  
Old 02-11-2006, 02:24 AM
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Default Revocation Hearing Process

Parole revocation hearings determines whether a preponderance level of evidence is present to show good cause finding that the parolee has violated any law or condition of parole. Parolees may be returned to custody for up to 12 months. Typically, present at the hearing are the agent of record, the parolee, a district hearing agent, requested witnesses and an attorney for the inmate.
In November, 2003, the Board of Parole Hearings (formerly known as the Board of Prison Terms) and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (formerly known as the Department of Corrections) reached a court-approved settlement to resolve a decade-long class action lawsuit brought by inmates against the State of California. The suit alleged that the state’s parole revocation process violated the inmates’ constitutional rights to a timely hearing.
The settlement, approved and monitored by the U.S. District Court, requires the BPH to administer a Remedial Plan to ensure that parole revocation proceedings are conducted within legally established time limits, while preserving the due process legal rights of inmates.
The Remedial Plan will streamline the parole revocation process, including consolidating some existing procedures, so that all cases will be adjudicated within 45 days. Some changes will begin in July 2004 and the plan will be fully in place by July, 2005 to comply with the court.
Among the changes:
All alleged parole violators will be assigned an attorney at the beginning of the hearing process after being apprised of the charges against them and a settlement offer. This will consolidate some procedures that are now administered separately and to protect parolees’ legal rights, including protections called for in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
All alleged parole violators will have a probable cause hearing within 10 days to determine whether or not there is sufficient justification to proceed to a hearing, unless the parolee waives that right or asks for a continuance.
All parole revocation cases will be adjudicated within 35 days, unless the parolee requests a continuance.
The complete settlement document (Valdivia v Schwarzenegger) is available here.

The Parole Decentralized Revocation Units are availabe if you need additional information about Parole Revocation Hearings.

Last edited by NuBeginning; 02-11-2006 at 02:31 AM..
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