People transfer within the prison system for lots of reasons. Staff may move someone to a different prison to keep them safe. If an incarcerated person moves to a prison outside the state, it can be hard for them to attend a parole hearing. That’s why it may help to know what parole in absentia is and how it works.
Does parole in absentia mean you aren’t at the hearing?
Not exactly. Though it does mean “parole without being present,” the board does not use the term for all incarcerated people. Only those convicted in one state and serving time in another are in absentia. In other words, it’s a term for those who cannot attend their parole hearing in person. Not all states have standards for parole in absentia, either. Texas and Nevada are the two biggest prison systems to use the process.
Who is eligible for parole in absentia?
Not all people moved out of the state can get parole in absentia. If your sentence does not include parole, this means you also cannot get parole in absentia. The board may also choose not to review parole requests in absentia if you have charges in another state. Since you live somewhere else now, that state has to agree to the terms for your release.
If an incarcerated person is ready for a parole hearing, they can file a packet the same way they would in person. Since you cannot talk to the board during the hearing, you have to make your case in other ways. This might include an interview at the prison where you stay. The board may also ask for a parole release plan or a parole in absentia summary.
These items should give the board information about why they should release you. They look for a good, clean record inside prison. The board also wants to see a clear plan for how you will work and live after release. After they review your plan and summary, they will vote on your parole.
What happens if you are granted parole in absentia?
If the board decides to release you, they will work with the prison where you stay. Together, they will outline the rules for your release. This includes where you can live and who your parole officer is. If you have plans to return to the state where you were convicted, you will need to get approval.
Like any other parole, you must follow the rules they give you. If you do not, you could end up back in prison. The most common reason people return to prison is for parole violations. That’s why it’s very important that you know what the board expects of you after release.
Some states use a process called parole in absentia. This means that an person in prison cannot attend their parole hearing in person. If this happens, the board will look at your request and take a vote without an in-person hearing. They give you a chance to interview at your prison first. You can also submit a plan and summary to help make your case for parole.