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Incarcerated individuals do not have a right to parole under Pennsylvania law. Being granted parole is a privilege. The Parole Board recognizes that having a family member, loved one or friend who is incarcerated can be an emotional and financial hardship. However, the Parole Board must follow and adhere to the statutes that govern it.
Answering Case-specific Questions Made in Social Media Posts
The Parole Board does not provide individual parole case status information on any form of social media. If you have a parole concern about a family member, loved one or friend, please use the Contact Us icon on the Parole Board’s website to submit an email. Please do NOT use Facebook or Twitter to ask your questions. Make certain you include the name of the person you are writing about, identifying information such as a DOC institutional number or parole number and/or date of birth for proper verification. Your email will either be answered by the Parole Board or FORWARDED to the correct office/agency who will need to respond. The only public document the Parole Board can provide is a copy of the Board Action, which is the official document that either grants/denies parole. Please allow 7-10 business days for a response.
Submitting Court Documents/Case Updates to the Parole Board
The Parole Board cannot accept any copies of court documents or any case updates from an inmate's family members, loved ones or friends that are sent by using the Contact Us icon on the Parole Board’s website. All court documents must come from the assigned parole agent or directly from the court for authenticity.
Minimum Date versus Parole Release Date
The Parole Board frequently clarifies the misunderstanding that the minimum sentence date is the parole release date. Public perception is they are one and the same. It is crucial that all incarcerated individuals – and their family members, loved ones and friends – in Pennsylvania understand the minimum sentence date represents the minimum amount of time a person must be incarcerated under the Department of Corrections’ control. An inmate becomes eligible for parole release after they have served their minimum sentence.
If you have the opportunity to complete programming before your parole interview, you should make every effort to do so. Failing to participate or complete programming when it is offered while you are incarcerated will be viewed less favorably than participating or completing offered programming. This does not apply to anyone who is serving a sentence for a crime of violence, as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9714 or from a crime requiring registration under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H.
Sex Offender Programming While Incarcerated
There are certain convictions for sexually-related crimes – committed on or after December 20, 2000 – involving a minor under the age of 18 that require an individual to be involved in programming before they can be seen by the Parole Board. This is not just a Parole Board policy or rule. This requirement is cited in the law: 42 Pa.C.S. § 9718.1.
Parole Interview/Hearing Docket
DOC Institutional parole staff prepare all cases for the parole interview. The schedule is called the parole interview docket. Each SCI has one. In all Board Actions/Decisions produced by the Parole Board, a month and year only is listed in the document if an additional interview/hearing is to be held. Only the inmate is provided with the exact interview/hearing date by parole institutional staff. Only the month and year of the hearing is provided to the general public, even if those requesting are family or friends. Incarcerated individuals often ask family members, loved ones or friends to contact the Parole Board to see if an exact date can be obtained, but this information is not provided to anyone other than the inmate him/herself.
Developing a home plan that can be approved is the responsibility of the incarcerated person. Proposed home plans must start with the inmate at the SCI where he/she is incarcerated. Inmates need to work with the Department of Corrections’ (DOC) parole institutional staff to start this process. Parole supervision staff in the community investigate and approve/disapprove of the home plan. The entire home plan process is under the administration of the Department of Corrections (DOC – not the Parole Board. Any questions about the home plan status need to be asked to parole supervision staff. The parole agent who conducted the home plan provides contact information when the home plan is investigated. This person should be contacted for home plan status updates.
Please Note: A home plan proposal may be submitted by DOC institutional parole staff to parole staff in the field for their investigation after a person has had his/her interview/hearing with the Parole Board decision makers. This is a preliminary investigation and is part of the parole process. Submission of a home plan does NOT guarantee the person is going to be paroled. For various reasons, home plan investigations may take up to 30-45 days to complete for an in-state (Pennsylvania) home plan. SCI parole agents are trying to be proactive by doing this before an official Parole Board decision is made to assist with the release process on decisions granting parole. Having an approved home plan helps to decrease an individual’s SCI release processing time IF a Board Action that grants parole is issued.
Parole Approval versus Parole Release from Incarceration
Parole release is not immediate when an incarcerated individual receives a decision granting parole. If the Board Action/Decision contains conditions that must be fulfilled before a person is released, he/she must complete them before any release processing will begin.
The individual needs to work with his/her DOC institutional parole agent to verify which requirements he/she needs to meet. The individual must also remain misconduct free. A person who receives a misconduct after a favorable Board Action may have that decision revoked. Any detainers or new charges may delay or invalidate a person’s parole.
The Release Checklist includes:
• Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund Payment
• DOC RRRI Certification
• Victim Awareness Class Completion (if applicable)
• DNA Sample (if there is a past or present felony conviction)
• Sex Offender’s Law Registration (if required)
• Completed Programming (if noted)
• CCC Bed Date
• Approved Home Plan
• Release Orders from the Parole Board
• Release Date from the Department of Corrections' Institutional Parole Office
Parole Release into the Community from Incarceration
Releases are processed by the Department of Corrections' (DOC) Institutional Parole Office - NOT the Parole Board. Neither the Parole Board or the DOC provides exact release dates to the general public, even if those requesting the information are family members, loved ones or friends. The DOC provides this date to the inmate him/herself, who then has the responsibility to let family and friends know the date to arrange for transportation. Incarcerated individuals often ask family members or friends to contact the Parole Board to see if an exact date can be obtained, but the exact date is not provided to protect the safety and security of both the inmate being released as well as the home provider.
The Assigned Parole Agent: The First Point of Contact
After a person is released from prison to parole supervision in the community, each person needs to remember his or her FIRST POINT OF CONTACT is ALWAYS their assigned parole agent. The parole agent is the best source to answer all questions or help with problems. Individuals on parole in the community should not email the Parole Board through its website to ask questions about his/her parole conditions or report any issues that should be given directly to his or her agent. The parolee is given a cell phone number for their assigned agent. This is the one, single most important piece of information they need to secure and keep with them at all times while on parole.