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Justice & Public Safety Cabinet

How the Parole Process Works

​Eligibility for Parole

Parole eligibility is established by statute and regulation. Those convicted as violent offenders, must serve 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Many convicted of being a persistent felony offender are not eligible for parole until they have serve at least ten years of their sentence. Convicted sex offenders do not become eligible for parole until they have completed a sex offender treatment program administered by the Department of Corrections.  All other incarcerated felons become eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of their sentence.

Eligibility for parole in no way guarantees that an inmate will be granted parole.

Parole Board Meetings 

For parole hearings at which the inmate appears, two members of the Board constitute a quorum. For all other meetings and Board business, four members are required to constitute a quorum.
With some exceptions, the Board conducts the majority of hearings through video conferencing.  In these exceptions, the Board travels to the various institutions across the state to conduct face-to-face parole hearings.
Board meetings are open to the public; however, for security reasons, anyone who attends must make prior arrangements with the institution where the hearing is held. The Board makes a written record of its decision and announces the decision at the interview. If the two-member panel is not in unanimous agreement, the full Board must decide the case and a majority vote is required to make the decision.

Board Decision-Making Process

The Board has three decision options:
    Serve Out -
The inmate must spend the balance of his/her sentence incarcerated. 
    Deferment -
The Board sets a period of months or years before the inmate will again become eligible to meet the Board;
In all decisions, the Board considers the seriousness of the current offense, prior criminal record, institutional adjustment, attitude toward authority, history of alcohol or drug involvement, history of prior probation, shock probation or parole violation, education and job skills, employment history, emotional stability, mental capacities, health or illness, history of deviant behavior, official and community attitudes toward accepting the inmate back into the community, oral and written statements of victims, and parole plan, which includes home placement, job placement, and need for community treatment and follow up.

Parole Violations 

Parolees accused of parole violations are entitled to a preliminary or probable cause hearing before an Administrative Law Judge and a final Parole Revocation Hearing before the Board. The Board employs two Administrative Law Judges who conduct probable cause hearings throughout the state.
Identified victims of crimes are notified of upcoming parole hearings by the Victim Services Branch of the Parole Board and such victims may submit written statements or appear in person before the Board.