The Dallas Law Office of Stephen P. Karns

Parole Factors and Votes

The Board considers many different factors when it reviews the Client's case for parole, including but not limited to:

  • the seriousness of the offense;
  • the sentence length and the amount of time served on the sentence;
  • the Client's age;
  • juvenile history;
  • criminal history, including periods of probation and parole;
  • the number of previous incarcerations;
  • previous arrests;
  • institutional adjustment or the level of Client's participation in TDCJ programs;
  • letters of support and/or protest.

You may think that there may not be much that can be done about some of these factors and that may be somewhat true. After all, neither the Client nor Mr. Karns can change the Client's age or the number of his previous arrests or convictions. However, if you want the Board to understand the circumstances surrounding some of these factors and have additional information brought to light that serves to explain them in a manner that is favorable to the Client, then you must hire an advocate! If you do not, then you can rest assured that the Board will consider these factors on their own, in a negative light, with out any mitigation or extenuation in favor of the Client. He will be viewed "as a number," not a person, and in general, less deserving of the opportunity of parole.

The Board has many reasons for approving or denying a Client for parole:

  • whether or not the Client's offense was violent or assaultive;
  • whether or not the Client's criminal history indicates a repeated pattern of criminal episodes, or a predisposition to commit criminal acts;
  • any gang or organized criminal activity;
  • juvenile felony or misdemeanor offenses;
  • other adult felony or misdemeanor offenses;
  • the nature of the offense for which the Client is presently incarcerated;
  • the involvement of drugs and alcohol, including possession, use, or distribution, in the Client's offense or criminal history;
  • the Client's institutional adjustment, whether or not he has any disciplinary cases, loss of time, or demotion in classification;
  • whether Client succeeded or failed on prior periods of probation or parole;
  • the Client's level of participation in TDCJ programs, such as educational, vocational, or group counseling programs;
  • the amount of time the Client has served on his sentence.

If the Board votes "yes" to parole the Client, there are many different votes it may give:

  • FI-1: means "release when eligible" or is sometimes referred to as an "immediate release";
  • FI-2: means "release on a specified date" which will be supplied by the Board when it votes;
  • FI-3R: means offender is transferred to a rehabilitation tier program of not less than three months in length and not earlier than the date specified by the Board, and the offender's release is conditioned upon completion of the program.
  • FI-4: means offender is transferred to pre-parole transfer facility prior to date specified by the Board for release to parole.
  • FI-5: means offender is transferred to an in-prison therapeutic community program with release to an aftercare component upon completion.
  • FI-6R: means offender is transferred to a rehabilitation tier program of not less than six months in length and not earlier than the date specified by the Board, and the offender's release is conditioned upon completion of the program.
  • FI-7: means offender is transferred to a rehabilitation program; offender is released only after completion of the program and no sooner than seven months from the date specified by the Board.
  • FI-9R: means offender is transferred to a rehabilitation tier program of not less than nine months in length and not earlier than the date specified by the Board, and the offender's release is conditioned upon completion of the program.
  • FI-18R: means offender is transferred to a rehabilitation tier program of not less than eighteen months in length and not earlier than the date specified by the Board, and the offender's release is conditioned upon completion of the program.
  • NR: denotes "next review," which means Client is denied parole on this review, will be "set off" until the date which the Board set for Client's next review (which will be set typically within one to three years).
  • SA: denotes "serve all," which means Client is denied parole on this review and the Board will not consider Client again for parole (although Client may be eligible for a review for mandatory supervision). Essentially, "serve all" means Client remains in prison until he reaches his mandatory supervision release date, if eligible, or his discharge (sentence completion) date. If the Client is denied parole, he may be eligible to be reviewed for release to mandatory supervision. Mandatory supervision is a release similar to parole for eligible offenders who can be released when their flat, good, and work time equals the length of their original sentence. The Board has the authority to grant or deny this release just as with parole. Offenders who commit offenses listed in Section 508.149(a) of the Texas Government Code are not eligible for release to mandatory supervision. Some of these offenses are:
  • Capital murder;
  • Aggravated kidnapping;
  • Aggravated sexual assault;
  • Aggravated robbery;
  • Murder, 1st degree;
  • Sexual assault, 2nd degree;
  • Any offense with an affirmative finding of a deadly weapon;
  • Burglary, 1st degree;
  • Arson, 1st degree;
  • Robbery, 2nd degree;
  • Aggravated assault, 1st or 2nd degree;
  • Injury to a child or elderly, 1st degree;
  • Injury to a disabled individual;
  • Burglary, 1st degree;
  • Injury to Disabled;
  • Indecency with a child, 2nd and 3rd degree;
  • A felony increased under the Health and Safety Code (Drug-Free Zones);
  • Murder, 2nd degree.