The Parole Process in Georgia
What Is the Parole Process in Georgia?
You might have questions about Georgia’s parole laws if you have been accused of a crime and could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.
Early release, commonly called parole, is afforded to certain inmates. Parole enables an offender to serve the remaining time of their prison sentence in the community under the supervision of a parole officer. However, if the parolee disobeys the terms of their release, they risk going back to jail.
Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles (SBPP) can grant parole to eligible criminal defendants who have served a portion of their sentence.
Parole Requirements in Georgia
Unless they have committed specified felonies, most prisoners are eligible for parole after serving one-third of their sentence. A person serving a sentence for a serious violent felony is not eligible for parole. Serious violent felonies in Georgia are murder, felony murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery.
Additionally, some offenders criminals are forced by state law to complete their sentences without parole eligibility. These comprise:
Recidivists, or prisoners who have been convicted of their fourth felony.
Inmates are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole if they have committed a serious violent felony.
Inmates are awaiting execution.
While being eligible for parole means you have the right to be considered when the time comes, it does not imply that parole will necessarily be granted to you.
How Does Parole Work in Georgia?
All offenders convicted in Georgia and held by the Department of Corrections are automatically considered, except those sentenced with no option for parole. It is not necessary to file a parole application.
The board will evaluate an inmate’s circumstances when deciding whether to grant parole to someone who will soon be statutorily eligible. The Parole Decision Guidelines system, which considers the seriousness of the offense and the inmate’s risk of re-offending, as well as the parole eligibility date, aids the board in making its ultimate determination of whether or not to grant parole.
To assess the risk of an inmate re-offending, the board uses weighted factors regarding the offender’s sentence to estimate future criminal behavior.
The Parole Hearing
Preparing for the Hearing
Parole hearings require you to be prepared for the potential questions. The inmate should be prepared to demonstrate remorse, rehabilitation, and plans for a stable life after release.
This could include taking responsibility for the committed crime, completing educational or vocational training, counseling or participating in therapy, and having a post-release plan for housing and employment.
Rights of the Inmate
During the parole hearing, the inmate has certain rights, such as the right to an attorney, the right to present evidence of rehabilitation, and the right to make a statement. It’s important for the inmate and their attorney to understand these rights to ensure they are protected throughout the process.
Role of the Victims and Advocates
During the parole hearing the victim of the crime and their advocates also play a role in the parole hearing. They may provide statements regarding the impact of the crime and their thoughts on the inmate’s potential release. The parole board takes these statements into consideration when making their decision.
Georgia Parole Violation
A board warrant for the arrest of a parolee may be issued when it appears that the parolee has broken one of the terms of his parole case. A temporary revocation order may be granted if the accused infraction evades community supervision or the parolee is otherwise unavailable to the board for a hearing. The sentence’s execution remains as a result of this order.
Parole Release Process in Georgia
As soon as a prisoner becomes eligible for parole, a parole investigator will investigate the prisoner’s background, including the following:
Researching arrest and court records
The creation of a legal inquiry report about the inmate’s current offense and earlier offenses that occurred in the same county through interviewing arresting officers, court officials, victims, and witnesses
Interviewing the prisoner to obtain a personal history statement that includes information on the crime, the prisoner’s past, their family members, and plans after release
A hearing examiner is given the case after the inquiry is finished. Based on the Parole Decision Guidelines, this person recommends whether and when a prisoner should be released.
These rules are intended to assist the parole board in consistently determining when to grant parole based on the seriousness of the offense and the likelihood that the prisoner would commit more crimes after being released.
One of the parole board members receives the inmate’s case file after the hearing examiner makes their recommendation.
This individual determines whether the hearing examiner’s recommendation should be disregarded in the parole process in light of other considerations. In some instances, the board member concurs that the prisoner should be released from custody sooner than the hearing examiner suggested.
Once a majority of judgment regarding whether to grant parole has been reached, the procedure is repeated with the other four board members. If the board approves parole, a potential parole month will be set, Tentative Parole Month (TPM). Before being released, the prisoner may serve this portion of their sentence.
The case will be examined again to decide whether parole will be allowed when the TPM is established. Before the inmate’s release, the board may modify any decision for any cause.
Can I Get a Parole Consideration While Facing Life Sentences?
A person who has been convicted of four felonies or who has been given a life sentence without the possibility of release will never be eligible for consideration. However, under Article IV, Section II of the Georgia Constitution, any person aged 62 or older can be granted parole. But this will be based on the internal rulings of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.
For assistance in preparing the documentation and data for your parole application, contact a parole attorney in Atlanta as soon as you are close to being eligible for parole.
How Can a Lawyer Help You in the Parole Process in GA?
If you have been convicted of a crime, your Atlanta parole attorney may be able to tell you when you can get parole and guide you through the parole process. Our attorneys are ready to give you the legal advice you may need regarding probation and help you defend your rights.