As we have mentioned in a previous post, the parole system in Texas is not like other states and not like they show you in the movies. I remember scenes from both Ocean's 11 and The Shawshank Redemption where a prisoner is led into this large, nearly empty room and then sits in a chair in front of the parole board, answering the questions in a way that they hope will allow for their release.
Texas is different in that there is no opportunity for the prisoner to meet with the parole board and usually they don't have a chance to even talk to the people who actually vote on their release. The only contact that the prisoner or their loved ones will have with the voting members of the Texas Board of Parole will be through any written documentation, such as a Texas Parole Packet, that is sent to them.
Instead, any interviews are done on a one on one basis in the prison facility with a person known as the Institutional Parole Officer. The Institutional Parole Officer (IPO) works for the parole board but they do not actually vote or have a say on whether or not an inmate is granted parole. Their job is to gather information about the offender using a variety of means. One method they use is through the actual interview of the offender. During this interview the IPO asks questions about the offender’s past and what they intend to do if released from prison. They often inquire about work history, the offender’s education, any other crimes, medical or psychological history, the prisoner’s behavior and accomplishments during their time in prison, where and who they intend to live with upon release, etc. This information is then typed up and becomes a report reviewed by the voting member of the Texas Parole board.
If the Texas Parole Packet has already been sent to the board this is also a good time for the prisoner to verify that the IPO has the packet and will consider it when preparing their report. If the Texas parole packet has not been sent then the prisoner can if the IPO notices anything in the file that the prisoner should address in the parole packet.
The State of Texas is in the midst of a budget crisis, and the Texas prison system is one area in which legislators have made cuts. These cuts have resulted in an increased chance of parole and the chances of making parole in Texas can be increased even more if a parole packet is prepared properly.
Anyone can prepare an effective Texas Parole Packet. All they need is the information contained in our eBook, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet available as both as an instantly downloadable eBook and as a bundle of the eBook and a printed book (which can be sent to the person in prison to allow them to help with the preparation of the package).
Budget negotiators at the Texas Senate and House have tentatively agreed to close two private run state prisons resolving a political feud that threatened the criminal justice agency.
Under Friday’s agreement, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice will decide which two prisons to close.
Legislators agreed to cut $97 million from the criminal just budget under new wording in the budget, which requires two facilities to be closed. Although the bill does not specifically name the Dawson State Jail in Dallas and the Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility, the $97 million is the amount it costs to run both facilities.
Legislative leaders all agree on closing the Dawson unit but representatives for Mineral Wells are pushing to keep their facility open citing closing the facility would harm the economy.
Executive Director of the Department of Criminal Justice, Brad Livingston, wrote earlier this month that the design of Mineral Wells causes security and safety concerns. Mineral Wells, built as a military barracks and not a prison, is located adjacent to a park, a college, and private land. Prison records report frequent instances of contraband drugs and cell phones tossed over the prison fence.
Because of its design, the facility cannot be both secure and in compliance with life safety code requirements.