If you are facing possible prison time in Texas, you will soon be learning
about parole. While you’ve heard about parole throughout your life,
you may not understand how it works exactly.
In Texas, parole is where a prisoner behaves well while in prison and earns
the privilege of an early release before they complete their full sentence.
Essentially, a prisoner may be able to get out of prison early because
they have displayed good behavior while in prison. The prison authorities
may award “good conduct” time when they see that a prisoner
has made a good faith attempt to behave well and rehabilitate themselves.
Good conduct time may be awarded when a prisoner:
- Shows good behavior
- Is polite and respectful to prison staff
- Is diligent in carrying out the prison work assignments that they receive
- Makes an earnest attempt to rehabilitate
Let’s say that a prisoner has been good, but then something happens,
for example, the prisoner picks a fight with another prisoner. In that
case, the prison authorities may take away all, or a portion of the good
conduct time that the prisoner previously earned.
Not Everyone Can Earn ‘Good Conduct’ Time
Most inmates are very eager to earn good conduct time so they can become
eligible for parole. However, not all prisoners are eligible for parole
because of their circumstances.
For instance, inmates convicted of certain
aggravated sexual assaults, for continuous sexual abuse of a child, inmates sentenced to death, and
inmates serving a life sentence without parole cannot be released on parole.
If an inmate is serving a life sentence, he or she will generally be eligible
for parole after 30 years have passed.
If the inmate serves a sentence for indecency with a child, aggravated
kidnapping or sexual assault, aggravated robbery, murder or
capital murder, the inmate will have to serve half of their sentence. The same goes for
inmates who exhibited a deadly weapon, such as a knife or a firearm when
they committed the offense.
For everyone else, a prisoner may be eligible for parole once their time
served and good conduct time (combined) is equivalent to one-fourth of
their maximum sentence, or 15 years – the less of the two.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is the agency that decides whether
to grant parole to an inmate. If an inmate violates one of their conditions
of parole, he or she may have their parole revoked.
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