April 5, 2022 | Criminal Defense
Being convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to prison does not necessarily mean you will serve your entire prison sentence. Some inmates are eligible for parole.
Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner before the end of their prison sentence. A parole officer generally supervises the parolee during parole. If the parolee violates parole, they may be sent back to prison to serve their full term.
State laws differ regarding parole eligibility and the conditions for parole. For example, in Ohio, the Ohio Parole Board governs the parole process.
Who Decides When an Inmate Can Be Paroled in Ohio?
Ohio law does not guarantee parole. Prisoners don’t have an inherent or constitutional right to be released before the end of their prison sentence. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that prisoners have no right to rely on parole guidelines that were in effect when they were convicted and sentenced.
The Ohio Parole Board handles paroles for all state prisoners. It has absolute discretion concerning paroles in Ohio. The Parole Board is responsible for determining when an inmate is suitable for parole. The Parole Board may modify conditions or procedures of parole at its discretion, provided the modifications do not violate state statutes.
What Is the Parole Process in Ohio?
There are several steps to the parole process in Ohio. Steps include:
Calculation of the Parole Eligibility Date
Inmates generally become eligible for parole after serving a specific portion of their sentence. However, the Parole Board maintains discretionary releasing authority for inmates serving a life sentence for an offense committed on or after July 1, 1996. Also, the Parole Board has discretionary releasing authority for inmates with an indefinite prison sentence whose crimes were committed before July 1, 1996.
The Bureau of Sentence Computation calculates inmate parole eligibility dates. Once an inmate becomes eligible for parole, the Parole Board must consider the inmate for release. A list of eligible inmates is generated each month. Parole release hearings are scheduled based on the monthly reports.
The Parole Board Receives Reports and Information
A report describing the inmate’s time during incarceration is forwarded to the Parole Board. In addition, the report may include information regarding an inmate’s disciplinary record, continuing education, and rehabilitation efforts.
If the inmate hires a Dayton criminal defense lawyer, they may send the Parole Board a letter explaining why the inmate is suitable for parole. The attorney may also address specific issues and factors that the Parole Board considers when deciding whether to grant parole.
Other interested parties are notified of the parole hearing, including the original prosecutor and victims. These parties may also submit information arguing for or against parole to the Parole Board. The inmate’s family may also submit written statements to the Parole Board.
Inmates typically appear at their parole hearing by video conference. They are not permitted to have an attorney appear at the hearing. However, their criminal defense attorney may assist them in preparing for the parole hearing.
If the Parole Board grants parole, a release date is set. The Parole Board also determines the conditions of release. A new review date is set for the inmate if parole is denied.
In some cases, the Parole Board may schedule an Open Hearing if there are challenges to the inmate’s parole by the prosecutor or the victim. At an Open Hearing, the parties may argue against parole. The inmate’s criminal lawyer may present arguments in favor of parole.
What Factors Does the Parole Board Consider?
The Parole Board considers numerous factors when deciding whether to grant parole.
Relevant information and factors the Parole Board considers include:
- A risk assessment indicating the inmate’s risk to re-offend
- The inmate’s criminal history
- The degree to which the inmate can control their behavior or demonstrate impulsivity
- Institutional programming and behavior
- Recommendations regarding parole made at sentencing by the judge or prosecuting attorney
- Communications between the inmate and the victim or the victim’s representative
- Substance and degree of community support for or against release
- Statement from the inmate
- The inmate’s ability, readiness, and motivation to assume responsibilities and obligations
- The inmate’s family situation and other support systems
- Any mitigating factors
- All other factors the Parole Board deems relevant to release
After reviewing all relevant facts, the Parole Board may approve the release if it finds that the inmate is suitable for parole. However, the Parole Board may deny parole if it believes the inmate will engage in criminal activity after release or the criminal offense factors outweigh the inmate’s rehabilitative efforts.
Should I Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer if I Am Being Considered for Parole?
Inmates do not necessarily need to hire a Dayton criminal defense lawyer to represent them regarding parole. However, hiring an attorney may improve the chances of a successful outcome.