Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thoughts on the Parole Board

The following was written by an inmate in the Monroe, WA Correctional facility. This work is the property of the author[s]/creator[s]. Subject to the right of "Fair Use" as recognized by law, no person may print, reprint, publish, copy, perform, deliver, transmit or sell any work posted within the Voices from Prison. assumes no responsibility for the unlawful or unauthorized use of any work posted.

My name is                   , and I would like to ask you now to forgive me. I have always been told that one should never curse in public or when making a presentation. Right now I need to let you know that there is no way I can make this presentation without cursing. So I will get the cursing out of the way now and then make my presentation. My cursing is "PAROLE BOARD".

Now that I have said that, I will continue. Until 1985 when a person was convicted of a crime, the judge in the case would sentence the person to the maximum amount of time the crime called for. The judge and prosecutor would send a recommendation to the Parole Board along with any mandatory that the crime carried.

At the time of sentencing, each person would receive 1/3 of his or her time off. This time belonged to the person and it was not taken away unless that person committed some offense in prison that the department felt deserved loss of good time, and even with this, the institution could only recommend that the person lose good time. That Parole Board had the last option on what to do with the recommendation.

When you saw the Parole Board, before going to your parent institution, they would set your time. which could be any amount of time they felt was correct or deserved for your crime. The time would include any mandatory time that was imposed. The time that was set at this initial meeting would/could have 1/3 removed for good behavior. An example would be if you were given 6 years on a 15-year sentence, you would be able to get 2 years off the 6 years if you kept your nose clean.

You would be asked when you wanted to see the Parole Board again. You could meet with them every year or any increment up to the year before your release. Each appearance would include an update on what you have or have not done since your last appearance. When you did appear before the Parole Board you had the option of just talking about what you had done since the last time you saw them, or you could present information stating why you felt you had earned consideration for a time cut. (The Parole Board at any time could look at your accomplishments and if they felt you had made some improvements, they could give you a time cut. A time cut could be taking the 6 years they had given you, and reduce the time to be served from 4 years to a lower number of years and a sooner release).

One of the good points about this system was the fact that the members could release a person when they felt the person had reached a point where a release would best serve the person and society. This would be opposed to keeping them locked up and have the person start to go down hill because they felt no one was looking at what they were doing and only at the crime. Often this was/could be considered placing punishment on top of punishment.

One of the negative outcomes of the change from the Parole Board to the SRA is that everyone who was under the Parole Board was given more time under the ISRB. The court ordered that old Parole Board offenders he placed under the SRA and given release dates consistent with the SRA. This is not what happened; they were given 'PAROLE ELIGIBILITY REVIEW DATES'. Since there is no such thing in the state of Washington as a parole. how can you give me a date to decide if I am eligible for it? When this all took place, I had a projected release date of April 24, 2005, after the conversion I now will be seen on November 12, 2020 to see if I qualify for a parole. Please explain that to me.

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