What is a revocation hearing?
This type of hearing is required by the U.S. Constitution and the Parole Board’s regulations.
This hearing is held for individuals who have committed a criminal act while on parole or while delinquent on parole (convicted parole violator) and are convicted or found guilty by a judge or jury or to which the person pleads guilty or no contest in a court of record of a crime punishable by imprisonment.
When are these hearings held?
This hearing is held EITHER within 120 days from the date the Parole Board receives official verification of the plea of guilty, no contest plea or guilty verdict at the highest trial court level OR within 120 days of the date the Parole Board receives official verification of your return to a Pennsylvania state correctional institution depending on the circumstances. The 120-day “clock” for official verification begins when the Parole Board receives the paperwork that verifies an individual was convicted – NOT when the person goes back to prison on the violation. You may waive this hearing right.
FICTIONAL EXAMPLE: John returned to an SCI on 01.02.2021 and is sent out on writ (formal written document used to elicit a hearing by the court) to the county prison on 01.30.2021. John is convicted of Robbery (F1) on 01.31.2021 and returned to the SCI on 01.31.2021. The supervising agent learns of the conviction on 02.07.2021 but does not receive paperwork attesting to the conviction from the court until 02.12.2021. Based on these facts, the Parole Board has 120 days from the date the agent received the paperwork attesting to the conviction to conduct the revocation hearing (i.e. 06.11.2021). If the 120th day falls on a legal holiday or a weekend, the last day to hold the hearing is the next business day.
Please note: This is a general rule. Some limited exceptions may change this timeframe.
Who makes the decision in this type of hearing?
The hearings can be presided over by a Hearing Examiner alone or a panel consisting of a Hearing Examiner and a Parole Board Member.
What is the burden of proof?
Preponderance of the evidence
Does the person have legal rights at this hearing?
At each type of hearing, individuals are given their rights verbally and in writing. Individuals have the right to:
• Disclosure of evidence in support of the violations charged against them.
• Speak, have voluntary witnesses appear on their behalf and present affidavits and other evidence.
• Cross-examine adverse witnesses.
• Be represented by counsel. If a person cannot afford counsel, they may request counsel from the public defender of the county in which they are incarcerated. There is no penalty for requesting counsel.
• Request a continuance of the hearing for a good cause.
What happens after the hearing is held?
One of following decisions will be reached:
(1) preponderance established – continue on parole
(2) preponderance established – recommit or
(3) preponderance not established – continue on parole.
Continuing on parole after second level hearings means the decision maker did not find a preponderance of the evidence to conclude the parolee violated parole or the circumstances did not warrant revoking parole. Additionally, the decision maker has the option to continue on parole, but may add additional parole supervision requirements.
If recommitted, a parolee will be placed in an SCI.
Convicted parole violators will be returned to an SCI and will stay there until they are granted parole. The Parole Board can recommit a CPV to serve the balance of his or her original sentence with no credit for time at liberty on parole. The Parole Board has discretion in determining whether to award credit for the time spent at liberty on parole to parolee’s convicted of certain crimes.
Continuing on parole after a second level hearing means either the decision makers did not find enough evidence to suggest the parolee violated parole OR it could mean there was enough evidence to recommit the parolee to prison, but the decision makers determined the parolee could be safely returned to the street with additional sanctions.
If a parolee waives his/her hearing rights, the Parole Board will examine the facts of the case and make a decision based on the waiver, admission and any reports or evidence that are made available. The Parole Board will then make a decision on whether recommitment is warranted based on that information and issue one or more Parole Board actions reflecting that decision.
How long does it take to reach a decision?
This varies based upon the hearing and decision made. The inmate/parolee should have a decision within 8 weeks. The Parole Board will send notice of its determination to the person directly and to the attorney who represented the inmate/parolee at the hearing if there was one. The inmate/parolee will receive a copy by an electronic transmission to the facility. According to Parole Board policy, the inmate/parolee must receive a copy of the final Board Action first before family members, loved ones or friends.
What does the date listed in the Board Action mean?
In the Board Action, a line in the document will state: NOT ELIGIBLE FOR REPAROLE UNTIL [a date listed by MM/DD/YYYY]. This date is NOT the date when the inmate is being released on reparole. It is the date when the recommitment term imposed by the Parole Board in the prior Board Action ends. The Parole Board may review the inmate again on or after that date, but it does not create any right to be released on that date. After the review by the decision makers, another Board Action must be generated that will either grant or deny parole to the inmate.
How is the decision given to the inmate?
This varies based upon the hearing and decision made. The Parole Board will send notice of its determination to the inmate/parolee directly and to the attorney who represented the inmate/parolee at the hearing if there was one. The inmate/parolee will receive a copy by an electronic transmission to the facility.
Can the decision be appealed?
Either the parolee or the parolee's attorney may appeal a revocation/recalculation decision – no family members, loved ones or friends may do so. The person filing has 30 days from the mailing date of the Parole Board’s order to appeal this decision to the Parole Board. When a timely appeal of a revocation decision has been filed, the revocation decision will not be final for an appeal to a court until the Parole Board has mailed its decision on the appeal.