The Pennsylvania Parole Board (Board) consists of nine members, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Board may make parole and revocation decisions by a majority of the Board or in panels of two persons. Panels consist of one Board Member and one Hearing Examiner or two Board Members. A Hearing Examiner is also a decision maker empowered to sit on parole revocation panels, conduct parole hearings in lieu of panels and conduct parole interviews on behalf of the Board.
For voting purposes, the Board uses four groups based on the inmate’s current offense:
Group 1 – Majority Vote Cases (i.e. homicide, sex offenses, aggravated assault and involuntary/voluntary manslaughter)
The majority of the Parole Board Members must vote YES for an inmate to be paroled. These inmates are interviewed jointly by two Parole Board Members, or one Parole Board Member and one Hearing Examiner. [Typically, these case take longer to process Board Actions because of the individual reviews that musts be done by a majority of the decision makers.]
Group 2 - Other Violent Crimes
Two decision makers must vote YES for an inmate to be paroled. These inmates are usually interviewed jointly by a Parole Board Member and a Hearing Examiner.
Group 3 - Non-Violent Crimes
Non-violent offenders need one YES vote from a Hearing Examiner and one YES vote from a Parole Board Member. These inmates are usually interviewed by a Hearing Examiner.
Group 4 – Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive (RRRI)
RRRI-eligible inmates may be paroled if they receive a YES vote from a Hearing Examiner.
It is the Board’s job to determine whether or not an inmate should be on parole. The Board’s main consideration is whether or not an inmate has reduced their risk of committing a new crime and can be safely supervised in the community.