Coming home. That incredible moment in the life of every returning citizen. It is the moment you’ve been waiting for. As one reunites with friends, family and community, the surreal feeling may even seem like an out of body experience. But as one comes home from prison, it is important to be awake to this new reality and do whatever it takes to avoid going back to prison. As many begin the journey of re-entry, it is important to understand the terms of parole.
Parole is the last step on the path to re-entry. For the men and women coming home, parole is a crucial hurdle in their journey home. Here are a few important things to consider when it comes to understanding how parole works, who is eligible, and how to maintain parole.
What is Parole? Discretionary parole, as it is called by many, is when an inmate is released from prison early. Some are required to also partake in mandatory parole, which comes after a prison sentence. Both types of parole are court-ordered and are considered terms of one’s release.
How Does Parole Work? In most cases, the person being released will be assigned a parole officer. The released person will be responsible for staying in contact with the parole officer and abiding by their terms of release. These terms include conditions such as abstaining from drugs, maintaining employment, avoiding criminal activity, attending recovery meetings, etc. If someone fails to maintain the rules of parole, it is possible that one’s parole rights may be revoked.
How Can Someone Become Eligible? Most men and women are eligible for parole. However, there are some states that do not offer early release parole as a possibility. For those who would like to pursue parole, it is important to know that it is a privilege for those who are seen as capable of being released early. This determination is made by a parole board. It is important to be in good standing with your case officer and institution as most parole boards will review good behavior and commendations.
How to Seek Parole? As you navigate the laws of parole and eligibility, it is important to know your rights and opportunities afforded to you. As parole rules are unique in each state, it is important to seek legal counsel. There are many pro bono organizations and online resources to help you navigate your options and eligibility.
Parole is an incredible opportunity to come home from prison early. Although there are boundaries that will restrict movement, it can also create an onramp for returning citizens to have a fresh start. If you or a loved one is considering parole, remember that it is important to take parole seriously and honor the rules that maintain the parole.