What is a Parole Package?


A parole package is very similar in concept to a sentencing memorandum presented to a judge prior to a judge sentencing an individual, the only difference is the Parole Board already knows the number of years the client received in prison . The question before the Parole Board is should the inmate have to serve the entire sentence or should the inmate be released on parole before he has had to served the entirety of the sentence? In a sentencing memorandum or a parole package, I investigate my client’s life, the crime that was committed, the client’s accomplishments, any medical or psychological problems the client may have, and anything else the investigation may uncover, and from this I must create a compelling story about my client. A story that grabs the Parole Board’s attention and makes the Parole Board want to spend more than the normal four minutes the Parole Board spends reviewing parole applications which is required for my client to have a reasonable chance of receiving parole. The parole package should humanize the individual. No longer should the Parole Board see my client as just another prison number, but instead a human being who is remorseful for the crime committed, accepted responsibility for the crime, is no longer in denial, has attempted to rehabilitate himself/herself, and has corrected the problems that sent him/her to prison in the first place. These arguments must be based upon the evidence accumulated by the investigation and presented to the Parole Board in the parole package.

A parole package is not a three-page letter to the Parole Board with attached letters of support and a request to the Parole Board to please let the inmate go home. My parole packages run approximately 35 to 40 pages though I have created one parole package that ran in excess of 300 pages. Evidence of accomplishments as well as other pertinent documentation is crucial in presenting a strong persuasive argument to the Board in behalf of my clients. By documenting every aspect of my client’s life, my client’s accomplishments, the client’s rehabilitation as well as other factors along with the credibility I have built up with the Parole Board over the 18 years I have practiced before them has enabled me to maintain an 80% release rate for my clients over the many years I have represented inmates before the Parole Board. Past successes unfortunately do not guarantee future victories. The parole package should be a compelling short story that introduces the inmate to the Parole Board in such a manner as to make the members care about the individual that now resides in the pages of the parole package they are presently reviewing. This compelling story must be based on the evidence contained within the parole package. Should the package or my presentation to the Parole Board cease to be credible then the client’s chances of receiving parole greatly diminish. At no time should there ever be a question that is not answered and answered truthfully. Once my credibility is lost by either not knowing all of the facts or straying from the facts presented in the parole package the Parole Board will cease to believe in the statements and in all probability denying the applicant’s parole and give the applicant a set off to some future date. There is no such thing as a form parole package. No one’s life can be reduced down to three pages and a few support letters with maybe a letter indicating the applicant may have a job awaiting once the applicant is released. Instead, the parole package and the inmate’s request to be released should be an interesting, entertaining, and informative presentation.

The reason the parole package should be entertaining and informative is the same reason any book should be entertaining or informative. An example, I often use when I give a speech to other attorneys on how to write a parole package, is every one of us has gone to a movie and after spending two hours in a dark room have walked out often wondering why we paid any money to see the movie. If you stopped and analyzed what went wrong with the movie that cost someone many millions of dollars to produce you quickly realize you did not care about what happened to any of the characters in the movie. Once you cease to care about the individual characters in a movie then all of the action sequences, plot intrigues, and subplots no longer interest you and you quickly become bored. This same boredom will occur if the Parole Board Member is not intrigued by my client, the member is not interested in my client’s life, and if the board member no longer cares about my client then the board member will deny my client parole and go to the next inmate’s file. A parole package must be produced professionally and creatively for my client to be placed in the 30% of the inmates who will receive parole instead of in the 70% of the inmates who will be denied parole.