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Parole Board Hearings: How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You

If you have a parole board hearing coming up, I believe it is very important to hire a parole attorney to represent you at that hearing. Parole hearings are informal – you sit down with your lawyer and explain to the parole board members why you should be let out of jail.  In Mississippi, there are five members of the parole board who travel around the state conducting parole board hearings. The board is generally not inclined to grant parole to a defendant who is presently incarcerated unless there is a good reason.

I have handled parole hearings in Jackson, Mississippi and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and my observation is that parole board members are not going to parole you unless they are sure of the following:

1.       You have a family member – such as a parent or spouse — who will take you in once you are paroled. The parole board will not want to parole someone out if they are going to end up on the street.  Your parole lawyer will need to show that you have a plan about where you are going to go once you get out. Living with a girlfriend or boyfriend is not considered to be a solid future living situation, so you should make arrangements to live with a family member if possible.

2.       You have been actively preparing yourself for your release. At the parole hearing, your attorney will point out that you are making strides to improve yourself while you are incarcerated. For example, if you do not have a high school diploma, you should pursue your GED while you are in jail. If you do not participate in the self help programs which the prison offers, you may be rest assured that he parole board will be aware of this and it will be a strike against you.

3. While you have been in jail, you have conducted yourself without any disciplinary problems.

The parole board members want to know that if you are paroled out of jail, you will be a productive, law abiding member of society.  They are interested in the practical considerations of post-incarceration life – where will you live? What kind of job are you planning to have once you get out?  Do not rely on testimonials about finding God or realizing the error of your ways – the parole board has heard this many times and are more interested in your future productivity. If you need legal representation at your parole board hearing, please have someone contact my office for a free initial consultation.

Thomas Alonzo

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