Felons who have been incarcerated for at least the minimum portion of their sentences can be placed on parole by vote of the Parole Board. Typically, an offender is supervised on parole for a period of one to four years. While on parole, offenders are managed and guided by parole agents whose efforts are supported by networks which generally include representatives from law enforcement, mental health treatment providers, substance abuse counselors, housing specialists, employment specialists, mentors from the faith community and others.
Following the decision to parole, but before the prisoner's release from prison, the Department conducts a pre-parole investigation to ensure that the offender's community release plan is sound and represents the best strategy for assuring the parolee's successful adjustment, which is the key to protecting the public. The investigation includes approval of an offender's home placement, employment, education and treatment. Release is coordinated by the Department's Parole Release Unit.
Pending an offender's release to parole, the Department provides notification to registered crime victims, the Prosecutor and law enforcement.
Parolees must meet certain conditions to maintain their parole status. There are general conditions of parole which require the parolee to report regularly to the parole agent, prohibit travel out of state without the agent's permission, require the parolee to maintain employment, to obey the law, to submit to drug and alcohol testing at the agent's request, and to reside at an approved residence. The parolee must also avoid any unauthorized association with known criminals and cannot possess firearms. Often, the Parole Board imposes special conditions of parole which are based on the offender's background and crime, and are intended to provide the right amount of structure to increase the parolee's chance of making a successful adjustment.
Failure to follow the requirements of parole results in a response from the supervising parole agent. Violation responses may include more intensive case management efforts, referrals to counseling programs, community service obligations, substance-abuse treatment, placement in a residential program center, or a return to prison if the parolee appears to pose a threat to public safety.