The Board Action
The Pennsylvania Parole Board (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 in Pennsylvania understand the minimum sentence date represents the minimum amount of time a person must be incarcerated under the Department of Correction’s (DOC) control. An inmate becomes ELIGIBLE for parole release after they have served their minimum sentence.
Additionally, an inmate’s family and friends mistakenly believe after their loved one has been granted parole, they are immediately released. This is not the case as a positive Board Action triggers numerous other events that must take place before the inmate is released on parole.
The Board Action will tell the inmate whether they have been granted or denied parole and the reasons for the decision.
Explanation of Parole Denial
1. If the parole denial contains a general statement the inmate does not demonstrate a motivation for success, it means that neither the completion of programs nor the interview statements show the inmate seems prepared to succeed as a law-abiding citizen.
2. If the parole denial contains a general statement regarding risk and needs assessment, it means the inmate has a high risk of re-offending according to his/her evaluations.
3. If the parole denial contains a general statement regarding lack of remorse or not taking responsibility for the crime(s), it means the statements and actions during the parole interview, including the inmate’s written statement, gave the impression the inmate does not care about the impact of his/her actions on other people and society.
Explanation of Parole Approval
If the parole decision grants parole, it will highlight the reasons for the approval. The Board Action also spells out the individual’s parole conditions.
Parole to detainer means the inmate is not being released. It is a grant of parole to a detainer sentence, which is a sentence separate from the one the inmate is currently serving. The detainer ensures that when the inmate has been paroled on the present sentence, the inmate will be turned over to the authority imposing the detainer sentence to serve the next sentence, rather than being released from confinement. It means the inmate is allowed to start serving the other Pennsylvania sentence while on parole or will be sent to the other jurisdiction, which lodged the detainer, to address that situation.
Parole release is not immediate when an inmate receives a Board Action granting parole. There are several things that need to occur before the inmate is released to parole supervision. After parole is granted, the inmate needs to work with the institutional parole agent to determine what criteria from this list must be met before release:
• Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund Payment
• DOC RRRI Certification
• Victim Awareness Class Completion (if applicable)
• DNA Sample (if a past or present felony conviction exists)
• Megan’s Law Registration (if required)
• Completed Programming (if noted)
• Urinalysis (test results are good for 45 days)
• Chairman’s Certification (if violent crime)
• Community Corrections Center (CCC) Bed Available Date
• Approved Home Plan (An in-state, Pennsylvania home plan is valid for 150 days; an out-of-state home plan is valid for 120 days)
• Release Orders from the Board
• Release Date from DOC
If the Board Action contains conditions that must be fulfilled before an inmate is released, they must complete them before any release processing will begin. Inmates must also remain misconduct free. Any detainers or new charges may delay or invalidate an inmate’s parole.
Community Corrections Centers
A Community Corrections Center (CCC), often called a halfway house, is a residency under the jurisdiction of the DOC. To be placed in a CCC, DOC must approve an inmate’s placement and provide a bed date. This will be requested for the inmate by the board’s institutional parole staff if the Board Action states the inmate is to be paroled to a CCC. DOC is responsible for placing inmates at CCCs. The Board always encourages each inmate to work with his/her institutional parole agent to develop an approved home plan in order to expedite placement.
DOC controls the location and times for bed dates. An inmate may check with their corrections counselor or the institutional parole agent if they have not received a bed date within one month of receiving a paroling Board Action.