Kentucky Pardon and Parole Laws


In Kentucky, laws relating to pardon and parole can be found in Chapter 439, Title XL of Kentucky statutes.  Pursuant to KRS § 439.320, a Parole Board is established consisting of eleven members appointed by the Governor.  Out of the eleven members, nine are full time members and two are part time members.  The Governor appoints a Chairman from among the full time members.  The board is attached to the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet for administrative purposes only. The Department of Corrections provides any clerical, stenographic, administrative, and expert staff assistance the board deems necessary to carry out its duties[i].

Pursuant to KRS § 439.320, the Office of Executive Director of the Parole Board is created.  The office is headed by an executive director appointed by and directly responsible to the secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet in matters relating to administration.  The executive director is responsible for the support services to the Parole Board in the area of financial, personnel, and facilities management.  The executive director provides recommendations on administrative issues affecting the board to the secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the chairman of the Parole Board, and Parole Board members.  The executive director reviews and drafts legislation and promulgates administrative regulations for the board.  The executive director reviews parole data and conducts long-range planning as relevant to the planning needs of the board[ii].

Duties of Board

Pursuant to KRS § 439.330, the board must:

a) Study the case histories of persons eligible for parole and deliberate on that record;
b) Conduct reviews and hearings on the desirability of granting parole;
c) Impose upon the parolee or conditional releasee such conditions as it sees fit;
d) Order the granting of parole;
e) Issue warrants for persons charged with violations of parole and conduct hearings on such charges, subject to the provisions of KRS 439.341;
f) Determine the period of supervision for parolees, which period may be subject to extension or reduction after recommendation of the cabinet is received and considered; and
g) Grant final discharge to parolees.

KRS § 439.330 provides that the board must adopt an official seal of which the courts shall take judicial notice.  The orders of the board are not reviewable except as to compliance with the terms of KRS 439.250 to 439.560.  The board must keep a record of its acts, an electronic record of its meetings, a written record of the votes of individual members, and the reasons for denying parole to inmates. These records must be public records in accordance with KRS 61.870 to 61.884.  The board must notify each institution of its decisions relating to the persons who are or have been confined therein, and must submit to the Governor a report with statistical and other data of its work at the close of each fiscal year.

Final Discharge

Pursuant to KRS § 439.354, when any paroled prisoner has performed the obligations of his or her parole during his or her period of active parole supervision the board may, at the termination of such period to be determined by the board, issue a final discharge from parole to the prisoner.  Unless ordered earlier by the board, a final discharge must be issued when the prisoner has been out of prison on parole a sufficient period of time to have been eligible for discharge from prison by minimum expiration of sentence had s/she not been paroled, provided before that date s/he had not absconded from parole supervision or that a warrant for parole violation had not been issued by the board.

KRS § 439.354 provides that when any paroled prisoner classified as a violent offender or registered as a sex offender has performed the obligations of his or her parole, the board must issue a final discharge from parole to the prisoner when the prisoner has been out of prison on parole a sufficient period of time to have been eligible for discharge from prison by maximum expiration of sentence had s/he not been paroled, provided before that date s/he had not absconded from parole supervision or that a warrant for parole violation had not been issued by the board.

Pursuant to KRS § 439.356, after final discharge has been ordered and a certificate issued by the board, or after the parolee’s civil rights have been restored by an act of the Governor, the parolee may not be held again for a violation of that parole.

Pursuant to KRS § 439.450, on request of the Governor the board shall investigate and report to him or her with respect to any case of pardon, commutation of sentence, reprieve or remission of fine or forfeiture.

Kentucky Pardon and Parole Laws

[i] KRS § 439.320.

[ii] Id.