Parole hearings in Oklahoma can mean freedom to a prison inmate. It can be a win-win situation. The inmate is released with conditions. On the other side, the prison population and attendant costs are reduced.
In Oklahoma, parole can be defined as the conditional release of an inmate provided the inmate qualifies. The conditions are imposed upon the inmate for the remainder of the time they would have served in prison.
Parole is an opportunity to be reintegrated into society while still receiving support and being monitored. In Oklahoma, the process is overseen by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
Who Qualifies For A Parole Hearing?
In Oklahoma, qualifying for a parole hearing is dependent upon the underlying crime and the time already served. For this purpose, inmates can be divided between two basic classifications: non-violent offenders and violent offenders.
If you are a non-violent offender, you must serve one-third of your sentence before you will qualify for a hearing. For a violent crime, an offender must serve 85% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Qualifying for the hearing is the first step. Once you qualify for a hearing, a hearing date is set and the parole process begins.
How The Parole Board Prepares For The Hearing
As the date nears, a hearing notice is sent to the offender, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the prosecuting district attorneys, the victim or victims of the crime, and anyone else who has registered their interest in that inmate with the Pardon and Parole Board Victim’s Coordinator.
The board’s review process is extensive. It reviews the entirety of a person’s criminal record, including the number and type of criminal convictions that precede the crime the inmate is currently serving time for.
Also, the board reviews the underlying crime, any victim impact statements that were made at the trial court level, as well as an inmate’s record while incarcerated. This is the retrospective part of their review.
The board also looks prospectively. It looks to see if the inmate has finished high school. If not, it may demand that the inmate obtain a GED before being released on parole.
Also, the board will want to make sure that the inmate has suitable housing and employment. If it is thinking about setting parole conditions to include such programs as anger management, substance abuse treatment, counseling, or the like, it will look to see what availability there is near the home of the inmate before approving parole. Okla. Stat. tit. 57 §§ 332.7, 332.8
These steps are to determine whether the inmate will be successful in their parole term. The better the support, the more likely the success of the inmate on parole.
Parole Hearings: Your Opportunity To Convince The Board
Parole hearings occur once a year for non-violent inmates. That means that if parole is denied, an inmate will have to wait for another year. It pays to be ready and to know what to expect at the hearing.
The parole process involves weighing out the threat to society of an early release against the inmate’s desire and readiness to re-enter society. If there is no threat to society and the board believes that parole would be successful, then parole may be approved.
The inmate or a person appointed to speak on behalf of the inmate may speak to the inmate’s readiness for release. The speaker only has two minutes to address the board. Thus, an Oklahoma City attorney for parole hearings could be of tremendous assistance.
In addition, the board will probably ask the inmate questions. The questions are usually aimed at determining how the inmate is feeling and thinking about the underlying crime. This can include questions about remorse or how the crime affected the victim.
Other questions will cover the inmate’s support system in society. The board will want to know about whether the inmate has a good place to live and about their work plans.
If the board denies parole, it will be another year before the inmate will be considered again. It is best to get help and do this one right. An Oklahoma City attorney can both help the offender prepare for the hearing and speak on behalf of the inmate at the hearing.
Free Consultation: Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Attorney
Our lawyer is well positioned to advise you accordingly, as he has the necessary training and experience. He has the wit and tenacity to match the skill of the Oklahoma City prosecutors.
For a free consultation with an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney, call Wirth Law Office – Oklahoma City at 405-888-5400.
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