Parole Letter – January, 2012

This letter is written in an effort to continue to keep inmates updated on the current issues regarding parole and parole related matters, as well as to address some of the repetitive questions asked in the letters I receive from the inmate population. This letter reaches over 3000 inmates and I publish it three or four times a year depending on the amount of news that affects the inmate population. Because of the cost and the time and effort involved in producing this letter, I have a web page which is kept current at all times, including comments about rumors circulating through TDCJ, laws affecting inmates, in-depth parole statistics, past issues of letters, parole revocation issues, etc. I also attempt to explain in simple English the laws, policies, and procedures regarding parole in the state of Texas. This information can be found at where your family, loved ones, or friend(s) can go to print out information for their own purposes and/or send it to you.

2011 Board Members Parole Approval Rates by Offense Type and Parole Board Region:

These are the statistics I received from TDCJ regarding the release rates in 2011. I hope this will be of some benefit in understanding what is occurring regarding releases to parole by the Parole Board and will help stop some of the rumors circulating in prison. IT IS MY OPINION the Parole Board has increased the release rate due to the budget problems the State of Texas is undergoing. This may be a once in a lifetime chance for inmates to be released. You need to do everything in your power to have a strong parole package and argument to the Board Members giving you a better chance of being released before the Board reverts back to the old release rates. The Palestine and the Angleton Parole Boards are each currently short one member. As soon as I have information as to who is appointed I will place this information on my web page and it will be sent out in the next letter to inmates in approximately 3 or 4 months. A more in-depth analysis can be found on my web page at Remember, your family can print out this information and send it to you.

Release Rates Total Through November 2011:

James LaFavers Marsha Moberley Charles Shipman
Agg. No Sex 21.2% 21.4% 15.4%
Agg. Sex 66.4% 14.3% 14.0%
Violent No Agg. No Sex 17.8% 20.3% 15.2%
Not Agg. Sex 24.1% 10.9% 10.4%
Noviolent No Sex 37.6% 35.3% 37.8%
TOTAL 38.8% 28.2% 27.7%
Conrith Davis Lynn Ruzicka Michelle Skyrme James Hensarling
Agg. No Sex 31.1% 40.3% 31.7% 29.4%
Agg. Sex 58.7% 48.4% 72.9% 50.0%
Violent No Agg. No Sex 28.0% 36.1% 22.6% 24.4%
Not Agg. Sex 40.9% 38.2% 29.2% 20.0%
Noviolent No Sex 31.8% 40.1% 29.6% 29.8%
TOTAL 37.3% 39.4% 35.1% 28.9%
Rissie Owens Thomas Leeper Pamela Freeman Tony Garcia
Agg. No Sex 73.7% 33.2% 39.5% 29.2%
Agg. Sex 99.3% 58.6% 17.6% 21.3%
Violent No Agg. No Sex 75.0% 29.4% 28.4% 25.0%
Not Agg. Sex 87.9% 36.0% 24.7% 24.7%
Noviolent No Sex 81.9% 35.5% 37.5% 32.1%
TOTAL 90.2% 38.5% 35.4% 29.7%
Juanita Gonzalez Paul Kiel Charles Speier
Agg. No Sex 29.2% 30.2% 41.3%
Agg. Sex 21.3% 45.5% 39.6%
Violent No Agg. No Sex 25.0% 24.6% 29.1%
Not Agg. Sex 24.7% 35.8% 43.5%
Noviolent No Sex 32.1% 40.5% 36.7%
TOTAL 29.7% 36.0% 35.7%
Juanita Gonzalez Paul Kiel Charles Speier
Agg. No Sex 31.2% 44.2% 38.7%
Agg. Sex 70.8% 57.7% 60.0%
Violent No Agg. No Sex 20.4% 29.1% 29.3%
Not Agg. Sex 45.5% 33.3% 32.5%
Noviolent No Sex 36.9% 31.2% 40.1%
TOTAL 42.5% 32.7% 38.1%



Coleman Hearings:

I have received letters from inmates indicating they are being approached by institutional parole officers asking them to sign waivers for Coleman hearings. Some of these letters indicate the waivers are blank and indicate the institutional parole officer has talked to them. Later the inmate receives a copy of the blank waiver which has then been filled out indicating the inmate has waived his/her right to have a Coleman Hearing. All inmates who are subject to having a Coleman Hearing should understand if they sign any document waiving their right to a hearing, the Parole Board can place Condition X on the release and require the inmate to register as a sex-offender, even though the inmate was never found guilty of committing a sex offense.


(1)There is a persistent rumor circulating in prison by inmates who are not United State citizens, based on the misreading or misunderstanding of HB#2734. The rumor is that if you are an inmate who is an illegal alien, you will automatically be released. Not true. The legislationrequires the Parole Board to place a special condition on any inmate who is not a United States Citizen and who has been granted parole and will be deported to his/her native country indicating he/she may not return to the United States while on parole. This law does not mean the Parole Board must grant parole to a non-citizen. The inmate still has to convince the Parole Board to grant him/her parole before the condition will be placed on the inmate’s certificate of release. In simple terms the only way to receive parole is through the Parole Board granting it.

(2) This is probably the strangest rumor I have ever heard. I’m sure it is a scam to take money out of inmates families pockets, so please beware! Supposedly, there is a company or companies that buy up outstanding fees and fines owed to courts of the counties of the state of Texas. The company then sells these debts to family members or loved ones of inmates and then notifies the Parole Board of the amount paid, and the Parole Board then grants the inmate parole because of the extreme budgetary problems facing the state of Texas and every county in the state of Texas. Surely, no one will fall for this ridiculous rumor! Again, not true.



Every inmate is eventually going to be reviewed by the Board. If you want to hire me, I must have time to perform my job. I must be hired a long time before the inmate’s eligibility date so I can do what needs to be done such as help prepare an inmate to be a good candidate for release to parole, gather the needed information and prepare the written documentation to be submitted to the Board, and to argue in behalf of my client before the Board if granted an appearance.

All inmates will receive a parole eligibility date. About six (6) months before that eligibility date, the inmate’s file for TDCJ-ID goes into review status. Review Status means that the TDCJ-ID file will begin traveling through the different offices to be prepared for the Parole Board Members before it is sent to them. When an inmate’s file goes into review status it is pulled out of the regular file cabinet in Austin and it begins to travel to the different offices for the many things that have to be done. The review status should be completed about 2 to 3 months before it is sent to the Parole Board Office. Once the Parole Board receives the file, the file is then assigned to a first voting Board Member and then it is voted on. There is no exact formula for calculating when the review process will be complete or when the file will be sent to and voted on by the Board Members which is why I begin tracking my client’s files about 6 months before the eligibility date to make sure where they are. This is why I must be hired a long time before the inmate’s file goes into review status and a long time before the eligibility date.

The following is only an example of the time frame that it would take for a file to go through the system:


Eligibility Date                  File In Review Status                      Probable Voting Period

January 1, 2013                July 1, 2012                                     November 1, 2012 – January 1, 2013

The above example shows that the inmate’s file had an eligibility date of January 1, 2013. Six months before that eligibility date, July 1, 2012, it is placed in review status. Around November 1, 2012, it is then sent to the Board Members to be voted on and the vote should be completed by or before January 1, 2013.

It is too late for me to do my job if you wait to hire me once the file goes into review status.

Time Payment Plan:

If you decide to hire me and do so well in advance of your eligibility date, I can design a time payment plan for your family or loved ones, but I must be paid in full before I submit the parole package or request an appearance before the Parole Board, which is normally submitted 3 to 4 months prior to the parole review date. The time payment plan has been very helpful to many of my clients who have limited financial resources and thereby allowed them to hire me without causing them financial distress because they have hired me many months or even yearsin advance. If you wait until the last minute, the entire fee is going to be due immediately. I also have an attorney in my office who can represent you and his fees my be less than mine.

Please do not send any of your documentation to me prior to retaining me.

Illegible handwriting: While I attempt to respond to all inmates who write to me, I cannot respond if handwriting is so bad I can’t read it. Please write or print clearly so I can read your correspondence. Also, I must be able to read the inmate name. Some signatures are totally illegible, so please clearly print the name underneath signature. Finally, I must have your TDCJ-ID number, unit name and address.




 James Randall Smith
Attorney at Law