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Determining Eligibility

An inmate considered for parole does not possess a per se right to be released on parole.  However, an inmate has a right to be considered for parole and an inmate is not to be denied parole for false, insufficient, or capricious reasons.

Similarly, depending on the nature of the parole system, there can be created an expectancy of release giving prison inmates a reasonable entitlement to due process protection in the parole process.  Paroling authorities are not limited to consideration of formally adjudicated crimes in determining the likelihood of a prisoner’s success, if released on parole[i].

It is to be noted that some statutes requires the Parole Commission, in calculating a release date, to take into account any reasonably available evidence that is relevant.  The Parole Commission can consider all relevant facts and circumstances bearing upon an individual’s eligibility for parole.

Generally, the Parole Commission determines whether certain information is relevant.  Similarly, the matter is not reviewable by courts unless the Parole Commission abuses its discretion.  The Parole Commission can consider allegations of criminal behavior and also can consider presentence report statements that are hearsay[ii].

Generally, the power of parole is exercised at any time that the person or board in whom it is vested may see fit.  In some jurisdictions, the time for granting parole is limited by a statutory provision requiring a convict to serve the minimum term of sentence before an application can be made to the parole board for a parole.  In such situations, a prisoner cannot be paroled before serving the minimum sentence.

[i] Christopher v. U. S. Bd. of Parole, 589 F.2d 924 (7th Cir. Ind. 1978).

[ii] Laivinieks v. True, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2574 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 3, 1994).

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