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Parole
Handbook
A Guide to the Parole
Consideration Process for
People in Georgia Prisons
and Their Families
3rd Edition

lIIE lAW IfFEE
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OF

Til

-

SOUTHERN
CIITII

FOI

HUMAN
1
~~~~~~ RIGHTS
~====~

2

Parole
Handbook
A Guide to the Parole
Consideration Process for
People in Georgia Prisons
and Their Families
3rd Edition

83 Poplar St., NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-688-1202
www.schr.org

© 2012

Follow us:
http://twitter.com/southerncenter and
http://www.facebook.com/southerncenterforhumanrights
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7
PAROLE TRENDS IN 2011.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7
PAROLE AND THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE IN PRISON.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9
LEGAL RIGHTS.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9
PERSONS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 10
PERSONS ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 10
CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 11
THE PAROLE CONSIDERATION PROCESS FOR PEOPLE SERVING LIFE SENTENCES.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 12
THE SENTENCING PACKET AND THE
PRE-PAROLE INVESTIGATION.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 14
STEP ONE: THE SENTENCING PACKET. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 14
STEP TWO: THE PRE-PAROLE INVESTIGATION .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15
THE HEARING EXAMINER AND THE GRID SYSTEM.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
STEP THREE: THE HEARING EXAMINER PREPARES THE PAROLE FILE.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
THE PAROLE DECISIONS GUIDELINES GRID SYSTEM .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
THE PAROLE FILE.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 17
THE CASE RATING SUMMARY .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 18
THE PAROLE BOARD’S DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 20
STEP FOUR: THE PAROLE BOARD MEMBERS VOTE .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 20
INFORMATION LIKELY TO INFLUENCE THE PAROLE BOARD’S DECISION .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 20
INFORMATION NOT LIKELY TO INFLUENCE THE PAROLE BOARD’S DECISION.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 21
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS SPECIFIED BY LAW .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 22
A GOOD RESIDENCE PLAN: KEY TO GETTING PAROLE . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 22
TIPS FOR A GOOD RESIDENCE PLAN .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 23
A GOOD BEHAVIORAL RECORD: KEY TO GETTING PAROLE.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 27
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND GROWTH: KEY TO GETTING PAROLE .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 27
PAROLE CONSIDERATION PROCESS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
STEP FIVE: THE PAROLE BOARD MAKES ITS DECISION .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29
TENTATIVE PAROLE MONTH.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29
RECONSIDERATION DATE .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30
NO RECONSIDERATION DATE .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30
NOTICE OF TENTATIVE ACTION .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 31
STEP SIX: THE PAROLE BOARD SENDS A NOTICE OF TENTATIVE ACTION. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 31
SEEKING RECONSIDERATION OF THE PAROLE DECISION. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
STEP SEVEN: ASKING THE BOARD TO RECONSIDER A PAROLE DECISION .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE PAROLE DECISION.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
A REQUEST TO CORRECT AN ERROR IN THE GUIDELINES DECISION. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
PAROLE REVIEW.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 34
STEP EIGHT: THE PAROLE BOARD CONDUCTS THE PAROLE REVIEW .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 34
TIME SCHEDULES FOR PAROLE REVIEW.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 34
THE UPDATED PAROLE FILE. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 35
THE PAROLE REVIEW PROCESS. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 35
PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS FOR PAROLE RELEASE .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 36
CHECKING PAROLE STATUS. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 36
HOW TO CHECK A PERSON’S PAROLE STATUS. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 36
MEDICAL REPRIEVES .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 37
REQUIREMENTS FOR A MEDICAL REPRIEVE .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 37
THE MEDICAL REPRIEVE PROCESS .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 37

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HELPING A LOVED ONE TO GET A MEDICAL REPRIEVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
HIRING AN ATTORNEY OR ADVOCATE .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
CHECKLIST FOR FAMILIES WHO HIRE PAROLE ATTORNEYS OR ADVOCATES .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
APPENDIX A: RISK TO RE-OFFEND WORKSHEET.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
APPENDIX B: PAROLE GUIDELINES
CRIME SEVERITY LEVELS (POST 2006).  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED TO SCHR BY THE BOARD IN JUNE 2012 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
APPENDIX C: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

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Introduction
Having a loved one in prison can be one of the hardest experiences a person can have. Many people in prison
and their families want and need details about the way their parole decisions are made. For hundreds of families,
understanding how the parole consideration process works is an urgent matter.
Next to the parole decision itself, the most important thing for many people in prison and their families is to
understand how the parole consideration process works and what each individual can do to help improve the
likelihood of parole being granted.
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles fulfills an important function in our society—to choose whom to release
from state prisons to avoid overcrowding, while also upholding public safety. The Parole Board seeks to make
decisions that are fair and take many different factors into account while trying to identify who does and does
not pose a risk to public safety, and which people will be most likely to succeed on parole.
The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) developed this handbook to provide thorough information on the
parole consideration process to people in prison and their families. SCHR’s intent in publishing this handbook
is to help all people who are considered for parole and their family members to better understand the current
parole process. Please note that this handbook does not serve as legal advice. SCHR is unable to provide
representation in individual cases.
SCHR is not affiliated with the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Georgia Department of
Corrections, or any other state or governmental agency. This handbook is not an official document written or
published by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles. For information from the Parole Board on the
parole consideration process or a specific person’s parole eligibility, contact the Parole Board at:
State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909
(404) 656-5651
www.pap.state.ga.us
SCHR welcomes any corrections or comments on the contents of this handbook. Please direct them to: Southern
Center for Human Rights, 83 Poplar Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30303. For more information about SCHR, please
visit www.schr.org.
PAROLE TRENDS IN 2011
	 10,938 people were released on parole in Georgia.+
	 1,158 individuals on average were released by the Board each month.+
	 230 individuals serving life sentences were released on parole.+
	 On average, they served 22 years. This is the greatest amount of time served since statistics were kept
(1973).*
	 People who were granted parole served an average of 68% of their sentence. But paroled sex offenders
served 95% of their sentences and people convicted of “violent” offenses served 85%.*
+Parole data updated in 2011
*Data from 2007.
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8

PAROLE AND THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE IN PRISON
Legal Rights
	 People in prison DO NOT have a legal right to parole.
People in prison who are parole eligible are guaranteed the right to be considered for parole, but no one
is guaranteed to be granted parole.
	 People in prison CANNOT appear before the Parole Board.
In Georgia, the Parole Board does not hold hearings before making parole decisions. Thus, people in
prison are not allowed to go before the Board to argue their case. The members of the Parole Board
review each parole file individually, then each member casts his or her vote to grant or deny parole. The
Board does not meet as a group to make parole decisions.
The Board does hold hearings when deciding whether to change a death sentence to life in prison. In
these instances, the person’s lawyer is allowed to attend the hearing. The person facing execution is NOT
allowed to appear before the Board.
	 People in prison DO NOT have a legal right to meet or speak with members of the Parole Board.
Sometimes, but not often, the Parole Board may have a person appear before it to examine him or her
personally. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-43(c). However, the law does not require the members to speak with people
in prison.
	 People in prison are NOT entitled to an explanation about the Parole Board’s decision.
The Parole Board does not have to explain its decision.
	 People in prison DO NOT have a legal right to have their parole decision reviewed.
An individual can ask the Board to reconsider its decision, but the Board is not legally obligated to review
the decision. The Board can ignore the request for reconsideration and does not have to explain why the
Board rejected the request.
	 People in prison DO NOT have a legal right to access their parole file.
Every person considered for parole has a parole file. The parole files are sealed. Georgia law classifies
these files as “state secrets.” O.C.G.A. § 42-9-53. The Board has complete control over all files and
determines who sees the “confidential” materials contained in the files. Thus, people in prison do not
have a legal right to see what is in their file.
However, two types of materials in the parole file are not considered secret:
1.	 Materials that were already public records when the Parole Board received the materials, such as
court records.
2.	 Contacts made to the Parole Board in support of a person’s release to parole are logged into the
Parole Board’s Contact Registry, which is subject to public view. However, any written materials
submitted to the Board for this purpose are not required to be made available to the public.
Additionally, the Board may release some information.
The Chair of the Parole Board has the authority to release information that he or she feels is necessary
for the public good. The Rules of the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles say that the Chair can
release any information necessary to “clarify misleading or erroneous allegations and when deemed in
the best interest of the public and the parole system.” Ga. Comp. R. & Reg. § 475-3-.09.
9

The votes of individual Board members can only be made public if all five members agree to release the
information. Ga. Comp. R. & Reg. § 475-3-.09(3). If not, people in prison do not have a legal right to see
which way each Board member voted.
PERSONS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE
The following people are not eligible for parole:
	 People sentenced to a term of years for a “serious violent felony.”
o	 The following crimes are serious violent felonies: murder or felony murder, armed robbery,
kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation [except in certain narrow circumstances where
the crime is considered a misdemeanor], aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery.
O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.1(a). People sentenced to a term of years for a serious violent felony will
have to spend every day of their sentence behind bars. They are not eligible for parole. O.C.G.A.
§ 17-10-6.1(c)(4). Upon a second conviction for a “serious violent felony,” the person must be
sentenced to life without parole. O.C.G.A. § 17-10-7(b)(2).
	 People convicted of their fourth felony.
o	 People convicted of four felonies are not eligible for parole. O.C.G.A. § 17-10-7(c).
	 People sentenced to life without parole.
There is one exception to this rule:
	 Age Exception
The Georgia Constitution grants the Parole Board the authority to pardon any person convicted of a crime who is
subsequently determined to be innocent of the crime or to issue a medical repreive to an “entirely incapacitated
person suffering a progressively debilitating terminal illness” or “parole any person who is age 62 or older.” Ga.
Const. art. IV, § 2, ¶ 2. Since the Constitution trumps state statutes, the Board has the authority to grant parole
under these circumstances regardless of state statutes that may preclude release. However, these persons have
no right to parole consideration, and the Board has never exercised this Constitutional power.
PERSONS ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE
	 Misdemeanor sentence: A person serving a misdemeanor sentence is eligible for parole consideration
after the expiration of six months of her sentence, or one-third of the time of the sentence, whichever is
greater. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45(b). Note: Except in limited circumstances, the Department of Corrections may
not confine misdemeanant offenders. O.C.G.A. § 17-10-3(f).
	 Felony sentence: As a general rule, a person serving a felony sentence is eligible for parole consideration
after the expiration of 1/3 of the time of the sentence, O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45 (b):
o	 Exception #1: The following people are not eligible for parole: (a) people convicted of a “serious
violent felony;” and (b) people serving prison sentences for a fourth (or fifth, sixth, etc.) felony.
o	 Exception # 2: People serving sentences aggregating 21 years or more become eligible for parole
consideration upon completion of 7 years of the sentence. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45(b).
o	 Exception #3: People serving a sentence for one of the following crimes will not be released
on parole until the person has served “on good behavior” 7 years in prison or one-third of the
prison term imposed by the court, whichever occurs first:
10

	 Voluntary manslaughter, statutory rape, incest, cruelty to children, arson in the first
degree, homicide by vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or as a habitual traffic
violator, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, trafficking in drugs, and violations of
Chapter 14 of Title 16, the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45(f).
o	 Exception # 4: For persons serving a life sentence, please refer to the chapter on life sentences.
Note: A person whose criminal offense or history indicates alcohol or drug involvement will not
be considered for parole until he or she has successfully completed an Alcohol or Drug Use Risk
Reduction Program offered by the Department of Corrections. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45(h).
A person who has committed an offense which has been identified to involve family violence
(as defined in O.C.G.A. § 19-13-1) will not be released on parole until he or she has successfully
completed a Family Violence Counseling Program offered by the Department of Corrections. O.C.G.A.
§ 42-9-45(i).
CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED
Persons convicted of a crime in Georgia must be given full credit for each day spent in confinement awaiting trial.
The credit is applied toward the convicted person’s sentence. This rule applies only to persons who would not
be confined but for the charges which give rise to the sentence for which credit is sought. Here is the text of the
statute:
O.C.G.A. § 17-10-11: Credit for time spent awaiting trial or resulting from court order applied to
sentence and parole.
(a) Each person convicted of a crime in this state shall be given full credit for each day spent in
confinement awaiting trial and for each day spent in confinement, in connection with and resulting from
a court order entered in the criminal proceedings for which sentence was imposed, in any institution
or facility for treatment or examination of a physical or mental disability. The credit or credits shall be
applied toward the convicted person’s sentence. Credit for time served must be ordered by presiding
judge.
(b) This Code section applies to sentences for all crimes, whether classified as violations, misdemeanors,
or felonies, and to all courts having criminal jurisdiction located within the boundaries of this state.
Sentence computation is conducted by the Georgia Department of Corrections. Contact Inmate Services at 770504-7290 or Offender Administration at 404-656-4661 for information concerning sentence beginning/ending
dates and issues with credit for time served.

o	

Offender Administration
Post Office Box 3877
2978 Hwy. 36 W
Jackson, GA 30233

11

THE PAROLE CONSIDERATION PROCESS FOR PEOPLE
SERVING LIFE SENTENCES
There are two types of Life Sentences:
1.	 The first type of life sentence is life with the possibility of parole. The number of years a person
serving a life sentence must stay in prison before being considered for parole varies depending on
the date of the crime.
o	 If the crime was committed before January 1, 1995, the person may be considered for parole
after serving 7 years.
o	 If the crime was committed on or after January 1, 1995, the person may be considered for parole
after serving 14 years.
	 EXCEPT... If a person is serving a life sentence for drug offenses only (no violent
offenses), the person is still eligible for parole consideration after serving 7 years.
	 EXCEPT... If a person receives a life sentence for a serious violent felony committed on
or after July 1, 2006, the person may be considered for parole after serving 30 years.
O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.1(c)(1).
	 EXCEPT… When a person receives consecutive life sentences for offenses “occurring
in the same series of acts” (in other words, the same criminal incident or event), and
one of those life sentences is for the crime of murder. In that scenario, the person must
serve two consecutive 30-year periods (i.e. 60 years) before being eligible for parole
consideration. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-39(c).
Individuals serving life with the possibility of parole have a legal right to be considered for parole, but
are NOT guaranteed to be granted parole.
2.	 The second type of life sentence is life without parole (also known as “LWOP”). A person serving
this sentence will never be considered for parole and will have to spend the rest of his or her life
incarcerated.
Parole Consideration Process
The Parole Board uses a different parole consideration process for individuals serving life sentences.
Georgia law does not allow the Board to use the Grid System for people serving life sentences due to the
seriousness of the crimes committed. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-40(a); see also The Hearing Examiner and the Grid
System Chapter for a discussion of the Grid System. Although there are no written parole guidelines for
considering people serving life sentences, the Board does consider two key factors:
1.	 the seriousness of the crime; and
2.	 the impact that the crime had on the victim and the community.
Factors such as the person’s disciplinary record in prison and program participation are also important.

12

The Step-by-Step Process (For those serving life sentences)
Step 1

The Sentencing Packet

Step 2

The Pre-Parole Investigations

Step 3

Parole File Prepared

Step 4

Parole Board Members Vote

Based on the seriousness of the crime and impact
of the crime on the victim/community

Step 5

Parole Board Makes Its Decision

Step 6

A letter is sent to the inmate advising of the Board’s
decision. If the case is not granted, the Board will vote
to reconsider from one to eight years.
The reconsideration date will be provided in
the letter to the inmate.

The Reconsideration Date (also known as the “Set Off” Date)
Many people serving life sentences will not be granted parole at their first parole eligibility date. The
reconsideration date is the date on which the Parole Board will reconsider a person for parole, after the
person has been denied parole. People who are serving life sentences and have been denied parole are
guaranteed to be reconsidered for parole within 8 years of the date that parole was denied. Ga. Comp.
R. & Reg. § 475-3-.05(2). The Board is permitted to set off the reconsideration date for a maximum of 8
years when it is not reasonably expected that parole will be granted during the intervening years.
The reconsideration date is included in the notice of tentative action. If no reconsideration date is
provided in the notice of tentative action, the person will be reviewed automatically within the next 8
years.

13

THE SENTENCING PACKET AND THE
PRE-PAROLE INVESTIGATION
The Step-by-Step Process
Step 1

The Sentencing Packet

Step 2

The Pre-Parole Investigation

Step 3

Parole File Prepared

Step 4

Parole Board Members Vote
Based on the Grid System

Step 5

Parole Board Makes Its Decision

Step 6

Notice of Tentative Action

Step 7

Appeal Decision

Step 8

Parole Review

STEP ONE: THE SENTENCING PACKET
The parole consideration process in Georgia begins as soon as an individual is sentenced. After the person is
convicted and sentenced, the Clerk of Court sends the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) a sentencing
sheet. The sentencing sheet contains the crime committed and the person’s sentence. The GDC uses the
sentencing sheet to determine the following:
	 The Person’s Maximum Term of Confinement
The maximum term of confinement is the length of the sentence imposed by the judge. For example, if a
person was sentenced to 20 years in prison, the maximum term of confinement is 20 years.
	 The Person’s Maximum Release Date
The maximum release date, also known as the “max-out date,” is the date when the sentence given by
the judge will be completely served. For instance, if a person was sentenced to 20 years in prison on
August 15, 2008, the maximum release date will be August 14, 2028.
	 The Person’s Parole Eligibility Date (PED)
The PED is the minimum amount of time a person must serve according to state law. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45.
The GDC makes a sentencing packet that contains all of the above information. The GDC sends this
packet to the Parole Board. The sentencing packet becomes part of the person’s parole file.

14

STEP TWO: THE PRE-PAROLE INVESTIGATION
The pre-parole investigation begins when an individual is transferred to a GDC Diagnostic Prison. The Parole
Board uses information gathered during the pre-parole investigation to determine whether to grant or deny
parole. The pre-parole investigation has two parts: the Personal History Statement and the Legal Investigation.
	 The Personal History Statement
At the Prison Diagnostic Center, a parole investigator will interview the prisoner. The parole investigator
then fills out a Personal History Statement Questionnaire, which will be placed into the person’s parole
file.
The Personal History Statement Questionnaire includes information about the person’s family, education,
job history, criminal record, health, and any other information that the person deems important in his or
her life. The person also has an opportunity to tell his or her side of the story about the crime he or she
was convicted of, any plea taken, or the way the trial was handled.

	The Legal Investigation
During the legal investigation, a parole investigator gathers all court records pertaining to the prisoner,
including the circumstances of the current offenses for which the person was convicted, prior
convictions, arrests, and other case-related materials required by law. For certain violent crimes, the
parole officer or investigator has the option of contacting the victim or victim’s family. During these
conversations, the parole officer/investigator is looking for information about how the crime has
continued to affect the victim or the victim’s family. Information provided may be included in report.

15

THE HEARING EXAMINER AND THE GRID SYSTEM
STEP THREE: THE HEARING EXAMINER PREPARES THE PAROLE FILE
Once the pre-parole investigation is finished, a hearing examiner will verify that all the information required by
law has been gathered and placed into the person’s parole file. The hearing examiner then will write a summary
discussing the contents of the parole file.
THE PAROLE DECISIONS GUIDELINES GRID SYSTEM
The Parole Board must have guidelines to determine whether individuals can be safely released on parole.
O.C.G.A. § 42-9-40. The Board is required by law to make parole decisions based on the risk a person may pose to
public safety if he or she were released on parole. To determine that risk, the Parole Board developed the Parole
Decisions Guidelines Grid System, also called the Grid System. The purpose of the Grid System is:

	To assist in deciding whether releasing a person from prison would pose a risk to public safety;
	To assist in deciding whether a person is likely to succeed on parole;
	To assist in deciding how long a person should serve behind bars until that person is no longer a threat to
the public;

	To make parole decisions consistent—decisions should be similar for all individuals with the same or a
similar set of circumstances; and

	To explain the Board’s decision-making process.
The Grid System has three parts: (1) the risk to re-offend score, (2) the crime severity level, and (3) the time to
serve grid, also known as the grid recommendation.

	The Risk to Re-Offend Score
The risk to re-offend score predicts whether a person is a risk to public safety and whether the person
will succeed on parole. The hearing examiner uses the information from the pre-parole investigation to
determine the risk to re-offend score. The score is calculated by considering the person’s most recent
prison conviction offense, the number of felony convictions, the number of prior prison incarcerations,
the person’s age when admitted into prison, any history of drug or alcohol abuse, and the person’s
employment history before incarceration. Ga. Comp. R. & Reg. § 475-3-.05(8); see also Appendix B.

	The Crime Severity Level (CSL)
The hearing examiner also determines the crime severity level using a Board-approved list of crime
severity levels. The crime severity level is a number between I and VIII which indicates the seriousness
of the crime committed. The higher the number, the more serious the crime. See Appendix C for a list of
crimes contained in each level.
	 The Time to Serve Grid (Grid Recommendation)
As shown in the chart that follows, the risk to re-offend score and the crime severity level are used to
determine the grid recommendation. The grid will list both the number of months recommended for
the person to serve (CSL I-VII only) and the recommended percentage of the sentence that the person
should serve (CSL VIII offenses only). For example, if a person has a crime severity level of III and a risk to
re-offend score of 3, that person will have a Grid Recommendation of 22-28 months to serve.
16

Parole Decision Guidelines Time to Serve GRID (In months unless otherwise noted)
Risk To
Re-Offend

CSL
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII

Low (-5 to +2)
Low
15
18
20
22
30
36
40

Mid
High
17
19
20
22
22
24
24
26
34
40
40
52
44
60
65% of sentence

Medium (3-6)
Low
17
20
22
24
34
40
48

Mid
High
20
22
22
24
24
28
28
34
42
52
50
60
60
78
75% of sentence

High (7+)
Low
20
24
26
26
40
52
60

Mid
High
22
26
26
28
28
32
28
32
50
60
65
78
76
102
90% of sentence

This Grid was adopted by the Parole Board in 2007 and is effective for cases considered on or after
January 1, 2008.
THE PAROLE FILE
When the parole file reaches the Parole Board, it usually contains the following materials:
	 The Sentencing Packet from the Georgia Department of Corrections
The packet includes the person’s sentence and parole eligibility.
	 The Corrections Diagnostic Packet
This packet includes all test records and any other documents or information gathered while the person
was in the Diagnostic Prison.
	 The Personal History Statement Form from the Pre-Parole Investigation
The Personal History Statement is a statement taken by a parole investigator at the Diagnostic Prison that
contains the person’s views on his or her life, family, and crime.
	 The Social Investigation Report and the Legal Investigation Report
Both documents are made after the pre-parole investigation. They contain information about the
person’s family, employment history, criminal background, and crime details.
	 The Risk to Re-Offend Score, the Crime Severity Level, and the Grid Recommendation
These items only apply to individuals who are not serving life sentences. Individuals who are serving life
sentences are NOT evaluated under the Grid System.
	 The Hearing Examiner’s Summary (Case Rating Summary)
The case rating summary is a summary of information contained in the person’s parole file.
	 Prison Disciplinary Reports (DRs)
If a person receives a disciplinary report for misconduct in prison, the Parole Board is advised.
Disciplinary reports are added to a person’s parole file as soon as the person is found guilty of the
offense.
17

	 Any Relevant Correspondence
Correspondence from the prisoner, family members, or the victim that is helpful may be made part of
the parole file.
	 Statements
Statements by the judge, the district attorney, witnesses, police officers or detectives, or victims and
community members may be made part of the parole file.
	 Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) Programs
The parole file includes a list of all programs the person completed while in prison.
THE CASE RATING SUMMARY
The examiners write summaries of the parole files’ contents. For people serving life sentences, the hearing
examiner’s summary will focus on the crime details and the impact of the crime on the victim or the community.
For people not serving life sentences, the hearing examiner will use the Grid System and will include the grid
recommendation in the summary.
The Parole Board has to make decisions on thousands of parole cases every year. In making its decision, the
Parole Board relies heavily on the hearing examiner’s summary, or Case Rating, to expedite the process.
The Hearing Examiner’s Summary Includes:
	 A Summary of Relevant Correspondence
The Parole Board defines “relevant correspondence” as any correspondence that includes information
the Board does not already possess and any correspondence that is helpful for the Board’s decisionmaking process.
	 Materials from the Pre-Parole Investigation
The hearing examiner will compile a summary including information from the Personal History
Statement, the Social Investigation, and the Legal Investigation Report. The hearing examiner will note
the person’s criminal history in Georgia, as well as his or her criminal record in other jurisdictions. The
hearing examiner may also draw the Board’s attention to any statements from the victim, the judge, the
prosecutor, or police officers.
	 The Parole Review Summary from the Georgia Department of Corrections
The parole review summary includes all programs the person has completed while in prison and may
include statements from the warden, counselor, or other prison staff. The summary may also discuss
the person’s behavior and attitude while in prison, mental health and physical condition, and work
performance while incarcerated.
	 Work Materials from the Grid System (for Individuals Not Serving Life Sentences)
The hearing examiner will include the Risk to Re-Offend Score Sheet, the Crime Severity Level and Grid
Sheet, and the Recommended Months to Serve.
	 Crime Details that the Parole Board May Consider Important
The hearing examiner may include details of the crime, aggravating circumstances, and a description of
how the crime affected the victim or the community. The hearing examiner may also include information
18

about the relationship between the person and the victim, the age of the victim, and the value of any
stolen or destroyed property.
The hearing examiner may also highlight mitigating circumstances for the Parole Board. Mitigating
circumstances may include details about the person or the crime that suggest the punishment should
not be as severe as in other cases.

19

THE PAROLE BOARD’S DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
STEP FOUR: THE PAROLE BOARD MEMBERS VOTE
The Parole Board does not meet as a group to review parole files. The Board does NOT hold hearings. Rather,
each Board member votes independently to grant or deny parole. The parole file is sent to each member’s office,
one at a time. After reviewing the file, each member marks his or her decision on a ballot in the parole file. Three
out of five Board members must vote the same way to make a parole decision. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-42. If the first
three members make the same decision, the file does not go to the other two members.
INFORMATION LIKELY TO INFLUENCE THE PAROLE BOARD’S DECISION
	 Statements from the Victim and Community Members
Statements from victims and other community members are very important to the Parole Board. As
such, during the pre-parole investigation, victims have an opportunity to speak with parole investigators
about the crime and the continuing impact the crime has had.
Georgia law grants all victims the right to submit victim impact statements to the Parole Board for
consideration during the parole process. O.C.G.A. § 17-10-1.1(f). These statements are placed in the
prisoner’s parole file. The victim impact statement gives the victim the opportunity to tell the Board
how the crime has affected his or her life and family. Additionally, family members may submit a victim
impact statement on behalf of the victim if the victim is deceased or unable to do so. O.C.G.A. § 17-101.1.
	 Statements from the Judge
Any statement from the judge stating that parole should be granted is compelling. It is also compelling
for the judge to state that he or she would not have given the sentence if he or she had known that the
Board was going to deny parole.
	 Statements from the Prosecutor
Any statement from the prosecutor stating that parole should be granted or that the prosecutor does
not oppose parole is compelling information that is likely to influence the Parole Board’s decision.
	 Strong, Obvious, and Completely New Proof of Innocence
The Parole Board is NOT swayed by “gut feelings” or mere protestations of innocence. The Board will
likely disregard correspondence stating that the prisoner is not the type of person capable of committing
the crime.
	 Disciplinary Record While in Prison
A person’s prison disciplinary record, whether good or bad, may affect the person’s chance of parole.

CELL PHONES: Possession of a cell phone is a felony. O.C.G.A. § 42-5-18. Any person
serving a life sentence who is caught with a cell phone will be automatically set off
for two years. The Parole Board will deny parole, no questions asked. Any person with
a sentence less than life who is caught with a cell phone will be denied parole for a
“significant amount of time, according to the Board.”

20

INFORMATION NOT LIKELY TO INFLUENCE THE PAROLE BOARD’S DECISION
	 Witness and Victim Recantations
The Parole Board is not swayed by witnesses who recant their testimony. The Board believes that
witnesses take back their testimony for many reasons other than a person’s innocence. Likewise, a
victim’s statement that he or she falsely accused the person is unlikely to influence the Parole Board’s
decision.
	 Proof Previously Presented to the Judge or Jury
Evidence that has already been presented to the judge or jury is unlikely to influence the Parole Board’s
decision. The Board will not make or change its decision based on evidence that did not convince the
judge or jury.
	 Letters and Other Documents about the Prisoner’s Family’s Hardship
The Parole Board generally does not find statements about the prisoner’s family’s hardship to be
compelling. This is because the Board bases its parole decisions on public safety. Since the family’s
hardship does not reflect the person’s likelihood of success on parole or the risk that the person may
pose to public safety, the Board is unlikely to be influenced by family hardship.
	 Statements from the Prisoner’s Family, Pastor, or Other Supporters
Statements about the person’s good character do not tend to influence the Parole Board’s decision.
Families often write that their loved ones have made a once-in-a-lifetime mistake that was out of
character, or that their loved ones are good people deep down inside. These character statements do
not carry as much weight as the crime details or the victim impact statements. The Parole Board believes
that family members and other supporters may not have the most realistic view of the person.
	 Claims of Injustice
Claims of injustice in the person’s criminal case are not usually compelling to the Parole Board. The
Parole Board views these claims as irrelevant to its determination of the person’s risk to public safety.
The Parole Board may view a claim of injustice as an attempt to escape responsibility.
	 Claims that the Person was Promised Parole
The Parole Board does not find the following types of statements important: (1) that a judge or
prosecutor promised the person parole, (2) that the person pled guilty because the defense attorney
promised the person that he or she would get parole, (3) that the sentence was made or the plea was
entered with the belief that parole would be granted at a certain time, or (4) that a different sentence or
plea agreement would have been made if the attorneys and the person had known the decision that the
Parole Board was going to make.

21

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS SPECIFIED BY LAW
Georgia law instructs the Parole Board to consider a number of factors before releasing a person on parole.
O.C.G.A. § 42-9-42(c). For instance, the Board cannot release any person that the Board believes
	 Will not be law-abiding;
	 Will hurt himself or herself, or anyone else, while on parole;
	 Will not be able to find employment;
	 Will not be able financially to support himself or herself; or
	 Will have to be supported by the state.
Although the Board generally is not allowed to release individuals who will “become a public charge,”
the Board may grant parole to any aged or disabled person despite potential costs to the state. O.C.G.A.
§ 42-9-42(c).
The law also advises the Parole Board to consider the following factors:
	 Whether the person displayed good conduct while in prison;
	 Whether the person efficiently performed his or her duties while in prison; and
	 Whether the person has achieved at least fifth-grade ranking on standardized reading tests. O.C.G.A. §
42-9-42(c).
A GOOD RESIDENCE PLAN: KEY TO GETTING PAROLE
A residence plan is a document containing information about where a person plans to live and whom the person
intends to live with if granted parole. The proposed residence plan must be submitted by the person in prison to
his or her counselor.
Having a good residence plan does NOT guarantee parole. However, problems with a residence plan will provide
the Parole Board with grounds to deny parole. Common problems with residence plans include:
	 The Residence Plan is Missing Information
It is very important to fill out the residence plan in its entirety. Make sure to include the name and
address of the person and/or the location with whom the person will be staying upon release. Do NOT
leave out information on purpose in order to make the plan appear more attractive to the Parole Board.
A parole officer will be sent to check every person’s residence plan. If the parole officer discovers that
any of the information is not accurate, the Parole Board may deny parole.
	 The Residence Plan was Not Updated
The Parole Board may deny parole on the basis that changes were not made to the residence plan.
For instance, if the address or the telephone number at the location where the person intends to stay
changes, the person must report the new information to his or her counselor as soon as the change
occurs, so that the counselor can update the residence plan and notify the Board.

22

People should also advise their counselor if any new individuals move into the home designated on the
residence plan or if any newborn child or other child not previously listed now lives in the home. The
plan must include every single person who will be living in the home with the person.
The Parole Board might not consider the incarcerated person for parole until years after the date on
which the residence plan was first made. The person must continuously update the information in the
residence plan to increase his or her chances of parole. This is accomplished by providing updated
information to the institutional counselor. The counselor, in turn, enters this new information in
a “CONTACT” module within the GDC “Scribe” case notes system. This information entered in the
CONTACTS section of Scribe will appear on the Parole Review Summary that is generated at a later date.
	 Changes to the Residence Plan Came Too Late
Before any person is released on parole, the Parole Board must send a parole officer out to check the
residence plan. If the residence plan is updated too late, the parole officer may not have time to go out
and check the plan before the Parole Board makes its decision. The Board usually will not grant parole if
the person’s residence plan has not been inspected.
	 The Location Designated in the Residence Plan is Unsuitable
The Parole Board is unlikely to grant parole if the residence plan has the person living in an area likely to
increase the person’s chances of re-offending. For example, the Parole Board may not favor a residence
plan that has the person moving to an area known for drug activity, an area located near the victim, or
an area located where the crime was committed.
In addition, the Parole Board will not grant parole if the residence plan lists a location where the person
is not allowed to live or is not welcomed to live. For instance, people with certain felony convictions are
not allowed to live in public housing. In addition, many landlords will not rent property to individuals
who have been in prison, even if permitted by law. The Board also finds that sometimes family members
and friends do not want the person to stay with them. The residence plan must place the person in a
safe, legal, and welcoming environment.
	 NOTE: Georgia Inmates May Apply for Out-of-State Parole
A person who wants to be paroled to another state should notify the Georgia State Board of Pardons
and Paroles of his specific residence plan, giving the complete address to the Parole Investigator who
interviews him for the Personal History Statement before his initial consideration, or by writing directly to
the Board’s Interstate Compact Office. Note: The address also can be provided to the counselor who can
assist in getting the out-of-state address to the Interstate Compact Unit.
An inmate has legitimate reasons to request out-of-state parole if he or she has been a resident of the
proposed receiving state, and if his or her family lives there. The proposed receiving state investigates
the inmate’s parole plans and decides whether to accept him for supervision. The Georgia Board must
also approve the inmate’s parole plans, but only the Georgia Parole Board may grant parole.
TIPS FOR A GOOD RESIDENCE PLAN
Residence plans favored by the Parole Board have the following qualities:
	 Residence Plan Demonstrates that Person Will Get Necessary Services
The residence plan should provide the person with access to the kind of services he or she will need. For
example, if a person’s crime involved drugs or alcohol, a good residence plan may have the person living
near a treatment facility for substance abuse. Similarly, a good residence plan may have a person with
mental illness living near a mental health treatment center.
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	 Location Provides Person with Suitable Transportation
If the person does not have a car, it is important that public transportation be readily available. In these
instances, a good residence plan would have the person living near a bus stop or close to the train, so
that the person can get to work and his or her parole appointments.
	 The Residence Plan Has The Person Living in a Stable Environment
The Parole Board prefers the person to be free from bad influences, so the person can succeed on
parole. If the person’s crime involved drugs or alcohol, the person should not plan to live with relatives
who have drug or alcohol problems. If the person is serving time for a sex offense, the person should
not plan to live in a home with children or a home located near schools, childcare centers, playgrounds,
or any other areas where minors congregate. The person should try to live with people who are leading
healthy and productive lives, so that he or she can receive necessary support and encouragement.
Note: A parolee is allowed to reside with another parolee or probationer only if they are related
(immediate family preferred).
	 The Residence Plan and Public Housing
While some people on parole may be permitted to live in public housing, some local ordinances
prevent this from occurring. The Public Housing Authority (“PHA”) has broad discretion to grant or
deny applicants public housing. PHA may consider any “criminal acts which would adversely affect the
health, safety or welfare of other tenants” when evaluating an applicant for public housing. 24 C.F.R.
§ 960.203. Specifically, the housing authority is required to deny admission to any person convicted of
methamphetamine production and manufacture on the premises of federally assisted housing, and any
person subject to lifetime registration on the sex offender registry. 24 C.F.R. § 960.204.
	 The Residence Plan and Public Housing
Landlords have the right not to rent to parolees and not to allow them to live on the property. It is a
good idea to ask the landlord ahead of time whether the person can stay at the location.
	 If the Person is on the Sex Offender Registry, His/Her Home Plan Complies with the Law
Note: We have heard from many people who have not been released on parole due to the fact that
they’ve been classified as “Sex Offenders.” Unfortunately, SCHR is unaware of any transitional home
at which a person on the registry may reside consistent with the 1,000-ft. sex offender residence
restrictions.
** RESIDENCE/EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTIONS FOR PERSONS ON THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY **
Under the 2010 law, the residence and employment restrictions that were in effect at the time of a person’s
offense will apply to them. In other words, different restrictions will apply to different people depending on
the date on which the offense (that caused them to have to register) occurred. If you don’t know the date on
which the conduct occurred, you should consult the indictment and/or the plea or trial transcript from
your case.
A. 	 If the offense that caused you to have to register occurred on or after July 1, 2008:
1. 	 You cannot live within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, church, school, public park, private park,
recreation facility, playground, skating rink, neighborhood center, gymnasium, school bus stop,1
public library, or public or community swimming pool. See O.C.G.A. § 42-1-15(b).
2. 	 You cannot be employed by or volunteer at any child care facility, school, or church, or by or
at any business or entity that is located within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, a school, or a
church. See O.C.G.A. § 42-1-15(c)(1).
1 The school bus stop provision is still not being enforced anywhere in Georgia at this time. School bus stops have only been “designated” for purposes of
the sex offender law in Bulloch, Chatham, and Columbia counties. Those counties have agreed to suspend enforcement of the school bus stop provision
until the federal court resolves Whitaker v. Perdue, the class action lawsuit challenging the 2006 residence restrictions.

24

B. 	 If the offense that caused you to have to register occurred between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2008:
1. 	 You cannot live within 1,000 feet of any child care facility, church, school, public park, private
park, recreation facility, playground, skating rink, neighborhood center, gymnasium, school bus
stop, or public or community swimming pool. See O.C.G.A. § 42-1-16(b).
2. 	 You cannot be employed by any child care facility, school, or church or by or at any business or
entity that is located within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, a school, or a church. See O.C.G.A. §
42-1-16(c)(1).
C. 	 If the offense that caused you to have to register occurred between June 4, 2003 and June 30,
2006:
1. 	 You cannot live within 1,000 feet of any child care facility, school, public park, private park,
recreation facility, playground, skating rink, neighborhood center, gymnasium, or “similar
facilities providing programs or services directed towards persons under 18 years of age.” See
O.C.G.A. § 42-1-17(b). “Child care facility” means all public and private pre-kindergarten facilities,
day-care centers, and preschool facilities. See O.C.G.A. § 42-1-17(a)(2).
D. 	 If the offense that caused you to have to register occurred before June 4, 2003:
1. 	 The residence and employment restrictions in O.C.G.A. §§ 42-1-15, 42-1-16, and 42-1-17 do not
apply to you. If you are on probation or parole, however, it is possible that your probation or
parole officer may place limitations on the locations where you can reside.
** EXCEPTIONS TO RESIDENCE/EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTIONS FOR PEOPLE ON SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY **
A. 	 Owning/Leasing Property:
1. 	 You will not be guilty of violating the residence restrictions in O.C.G.A. §§ 42-1-15, 42-1-16,
or 42-1-17 if you: (a) own or lease real property, (b) reside on such property, (c) can prove
ownership/lease as required by the statute, AND (d) a prohibited location thereafter locates
itself within 1,000 feet of your property.
2. 	 You will not be guilty of violating the residence restrictions in O.C.G.A. §§ 42-1-15, 42-1-16, or
42-1-17 if you: (a) own or lease real property, (b) reside on the property, (c) established property
ownership or leasehold prior to the applicable date as set forth in O.C.G.A. §§ 42-1-15, 42-1-16,
or 42-1-17, and (d) comply with the statutory provisions requiring proof of ownership.
	

a. 	 For purposes of providing proof of leasehold, you must provide a copy of the lease 		
	agreement.

	

b. 	 Leasehold exemptions shall only be for the duration of the lease. See O.C.G.A. § 42-1-		
	 15(f)(3). In other words, law enforcement officials can make you leave once your lease 		
	 term expires, if you live within 1,000 feet of a prohibited location.

B. Employment Exceptions:
1. 	 You will not be guilty of violating the employment restrictions in O.C.G.A. §§ 42-1-15, 42-1-16,
or 42-1-17 if you established employment at a location and a child care facility, church, or school
thereafter located itself within 1,000 feet of such employment.
2. 	 You will not be guilty of violating the employment provisions in O.C.G.A. §§ 42-1-15, 42-1-16,
or 42-1-17 if you were employed within 1,000 feet of a prohibited location, but had established
such employment prior to the applicable date (as set forth in O.C.G.A. §§ 42-1-15, 42-116, or 42-1-17), and if you comply with the statutory requirements regarding proof of your
employment.
25

Note: If the indictment has a range of dates then the person gets the benefit of the doubt and gets the
earliest crime commit date.
Note that per Board policy, if an inmate has three prior, separate sex-offense convictions or the initial
crime occurred at a 1,000-ft-restricted location, then all 1,000-ft. restrictions will be imposed regardless
of the crime commit date. This includes juvenile convictions. It is also Board policy that if there was a
sexual component to the crime, the inmate will be supervised as a sex offender even if sex crimes have
been dismissed or not prosecuted (“nolle prossed”).

26

A GOOD BEHAVIORAL RECORD: KEY TO GETTING PAROLE
Individuals with a good behavioral record in prison have an advantage over individuals with disciplinary
problems. The Parole Board views disciplinary reports as an indication that the person may not do well on
parole. Although a good behavioral record increases a person’s chances of getting parole, it does NOT guarantee
parole.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND GROWTH: KEY TO GETTING PAROLE
The Parole Board does not look favorably on individuals who do not take responsibility for their crimes. The
Board views people who appear to be blaming others for their crime as bad parole risks because the individuals
have not accepted responsibility for their wrongdoing.
The Parole Board is more favorable to people who appear to have changed for the better while in prison.
Evidence of personal growth is more compelling when it comes from the prisoner, rather than family members,
friends, and supporters. The Parole Board looks for signs that the person has worked hard to become a better
person during his or her prison sentence.
While it may be true that some people are incarcerated or punished unjustly, it is important to know that such
arguments are NOT compelling to the Parole Board.
Factors that May Indicate a Person’s Failure to Take Personal Responsibility for His/Her Offense:
	 Claims of innocence without conclusive proof;
	 Claims that the person should never have been imprisoned;
	 Claims that law enforcement officers, investigators, prosecutors, or judges handling the case had a
grudge against the person or are corrupt;
	 Claims that witnesses lied;
	 Claims that jury members lied, concealed information, failed to disclose their relationship with
individuals involved in the case, or did not like the person;
	 Claims that the prosecutor or judge gave the person an unfair sentence to set an example;
	 Claims that the prosecutor or judge knew the victim, the victim’s family, the accused, or his or her family;
	 Claims that the person was convicted due to widespread corruption in the county or state; or
	 Claims that other people were punished less severely for the same crime.
Signs of Personal Growth:
	 The person takes responsibility for the crime and his or her incarceration;
	 The person is emotionally stable and does not have outbursts or other behavioral problems that reveal a
lack of control over his or her emotions;
	 The person has been helpful and supportive of other people in prison; and
	 The person has set future goals and has a good plan for success once released from prison.

27

Performance Incentive Credit Program (PIC)
As stated in the 11/1/2011 GDC policy change, PIC credits are now handled in a different manner. Persons
are eligible for a maximum of six months of PIC credit based on program completion and a maximum of six
months’ credit for participation in certain work details; the maximum any person can earn is 12 months. GDC
is responsible for calculating the PIC credits and providing the information to the Parole Board. At the point a
person has earned the maximum amount of points he/she can, and allowing time for processing the case out,
the case is reviewed and the Tentative Parole Month (TPM) may be adjusted. PIC points are generally awarded
as calculated by GDC, though the Board retains the authority to deny PIC. Credit may be awarded for specific
details, outside details/county camps/administrative aides, and programs/case plan compliance. Specific
questions and details should be directed to the person’s counselor.
Also note:
All people who are incarcerated can earn PIC credits, but there are some categories of offenses that are not
eligible for early release with PIC credits: Those serving for SB 441 offenses of Murder, Armed Robbery, Rape,
Aggravated Sodomy, Kidnapping, Aggravated Child Molestation, or Aggravated Sexual Battery; and those
sentenced to Life. In addition, those serving a Short Sentence (24 months or less) and those serving for House Bill
1607 cannot be released prior to PED nor can those who have not yet completed certain required programming.
It is not possible for the Parole Board to predict a PIC date; therefore, a person must speak to his or her
counselor to determine his or her PIC status.
Disciplinary problems are handled independently of PIC. A person may be granted PIC credit or have their TPM
adjusted to an earlier date and then have the new TPM extended based on disciplinary issues.
Note for Persons Returned to Prison Because of Violation of Parole Conditions:
A person who is returned to prison because of violation of the conditions of parole or other conditional release
will be scheduled for parole consideration six months to one year after revocation unless the Board directs
otherwise in its order of revocation, votes to consider the case earlier, or unless a new sentence supersedes the
revoked sentence for the purpose of computing parole eligibility. Ga. Comp. R. & Reg. § 475-3-.05(4).

28

Parole Consideration Process
STEP FIVE: THE PAROLE BOARD MAKES ITS DECISION
The Parole Board makes one of three decisions when considering a person for parole:
	 To Set a Tentative Parole Month;
	 To Set a Reconsideration Date; or
	 To Set No Reconsideration Date and No Tentative Parole Month.
Thus, the parole decision includes more than a mere “yes” in favor of granting parole or “no” in favor of denying
parole.
TENTATIVE PAROLE MONTH
When the Parole Board sets a tentative parole month, the Board is making a decision possibly to grant parole.
The Board is essentially stating that it may grant the person parole on the date specified if the person no longer
poses a risk to public safety by that date. The Parole Board only sets tentative parole months for individuals likely
to be successful on parole.
New materials added to the person’s parole file or new disciplinary problems may cause the Board to change
its initial decision and decide instead to deny parole. The Parole Board typically begins to examine the new
materials in the person’s file a few months before the tentative parole month.
The tentative parole month is NOT a guaranteed release date. Rather, it is the month and the year when the
Parole Board will review the person’s parole file to make its decision to grant or deny parole. The Parole Board
is free to change its decision at any time. Ga. Comp. R. & Reg. § 475-3.04. The Board can also take away the
tentative parole month altogether.
The Parole Board is NOT obligated to set a tentative parole month, even if the person has already served the
number of months recommended by the grid recommendation.
Departing From The Grid Recommendation
The Parole Board departs from the grid recommendation whenever the Board selects a tentative parole month
that is different from the number of months recommended by the Grid System. The Parole Board does NOT have
to follow the grid recommendation. The Parole Board is allowed to depart whenever it believes someone is a
greater risk to the public than reflected by the recommendation. Ga. Comp. R. & Reg. § 475-3-.05(5). The Board
usually departs when it believes the recommendation does not reflect the seriousness of the crime. No one is
guaranteed parole at the recommended number months shown on the Grid.
The following factors may cause the Parole Board to depart from the Grid recommendation:

	Impact of the crime on victims and the community
	The age of the victim
	The relationship of the convicted person to the victim
	Weapons used
	The degree of property damage
29

RECONSIDERATION DATE
If the Parole Board denies parole, it may set a reconsideration date, also known as the “set off” date. When
the Board sets a reconsideration date, the Board is denying parole for the present, but agrees to review the file
again in the future to reconsider the person for parole. The reconsideration date is the date when the Board will
reconsider whether to grant or to deny parole.
	 For People Not Serving Life Sentences:
According to the Parole Board’s regulations, people who are considered under the Grid system will be
reconsidered at least every five years after the date they become statutorily eligible for parole. Ga.
Comp. R. & Reg. § 475-3-.05(6).
	 For People Serving Life Sentences:
These individuals are considered for parole when they become parole eligible by law. The Grid System is
not used to set a reconsideration date for the Parole Board to review these files. A person serving a life
sentence may be set off from one to eight years if denied parole.
When the Parole Board reconsiders the person on the reconsideration date, the Board can vote three different
ways:
	 To Set a Tentative Parole Month;
	 To Set a New Reconsideration Date; or
	 To Deny Parole for the Rest of the Person’s Sentence.
NO RECONSIDERATION DATE
Any person serving a life sentence who has been denied parole must be reconsidered at least every eight years.
People serving life sentences do not get a tentative parole month. They receive a notice of the Board’s decision
to either grant or deny parole.

30

NOTICE OF TENTATIVE ACTION
STEP SIX: THE PAROLE BOARD SENDS A NOTICE OF TENTATIVE ACTION
After the Parole Board has made a decision to grant or deny parole, the Board sends the person a notice of
tentative action. The notice of tentative action is a letter informing the person of the Parole Board’s decision.
The notice tells the person whether the Board has set a tentative parole month or a reconsideration date. If the
Board has set one of these dates, the notice also provides the month and year of the tentative parole month or
the date of the reconsideration.
Generally speaking, the Parole Board is NOT legally obligated to stick to the decision reflected in the notice
of tentative action. The Board is free to change its decision, for example, if it feels that parole would be
incompatible with public safety.
For Individuals Not Serving Life Sentences, the Notice of Tentative Action Includes:
	 A tentative parole month or a reconsideration date;
(If the notice does not include a tentative parole month or a reconsideration date, the Parole Board has
decided not to grant parole. The person will have to serve his or her entire sentence.)
	 The Risk To Re-Offend Sheet showing the number of points given for each social factor;
	 The Grid Sheet showing the crime severity level, the risk to re-offend score, and the grid
recommendation;
	 A short explanation of the parole decision;
This short explanation is the only explanation that the Parole Board will provide to the person in prison.
In the explanation, the Board will NOT tell which materials in the parole file most affected its decision,
which way each Board member voted, who sent in statements opposing parole, or how the person can
improve his or her chances of getting parole. Often, the Board will simply state that a person has been
denied parole because his release is “incompatible with the welfare of society.” The Board is not legally
obligated to provide the reasoning behind its decision.
	 Any departure from the grid recommendation.
For Individuals Serving Life Sentences, the Notice of Tentative Action Includes:
	 Reconsideration Date: When the Board denies parole on a life case, the notice will inform the individual
when his or her case will be reconsidered, which as previously stated, can be no longer than eight (8)
years.
	 A brief explanation of the parole decision. In the explanation, the Board will not tell which materials in
the parole file most affected its decision, which way each Board member voted, who sent in statements
opposing parole, or how the person can improve his or her chances of getting parole.
No one is allowed to check the materials in the parole files (not even the person’s lawyer), even if a suspected
error in the file could have made a difference in the parole decision. Most documents in a parole file are
classified by law as confidential in nature.

31

SEEKING RECONSIDERATION OF THE PAROLE DECISION
STEP SEVEN: ASKING THE BOARD TO RECONSIDER A PAROLE DECISION
Note: The Board does not officially use the word “appeal,” which implies a legal right. The “request for
reconsideration” is not a legal term.
There are two types of requests for reconsideration. The first type allows the person to ask the Board to
reconsider its decision based on the merits of the parole case. The second type – filed only in Grid cases – asks
the Board to correct an error in the Grid calculation.
A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE PAROLE DECISION
A request for reconsideration of the parole decision is a request for the Parole Board to review the person’s
parole file again. Any prisoner can file a request for reconsideration.
To make a request for reconsideration, the person may write a letter to the Parole Board. There is no special
form to use for the request. The person may simply write a letter asking the Board to look at the case again and
reconsider its decision. There is no deadline by which the reconsideration request must be submitted.
People in prison can request reconsideration on two grounds:
1.	 To be granted parole when parole was denied, OR
2.	 To receive an earlier reconsideration date.
The request for reconsideration of the parole decision will NOT be granted unless the person has new and
compelling information for the Parole Board.
A REQUEST TO CORRECT AN ERROR IN THE GUIDELINES DECISION
Another type of request for reconsideration is a request for reconsideration of the guidelines decision.
This request does NOT apply to decisions where the Parole Board purposefully departed from the grid
recommendation.
The request for reconsideration of guidelines decisions does NOT apply to parole decisions for individuals serving
life sentences.
Information to remember about the request for reconsideration of guidelines decisions:
	 Grounds for the Request for Reconsideration
There are only two grounds for this type of request. Ga. Comp. R. & Regs § 475-3-.05(5). A person can
make this request whenever:
1.	 There is an error in the risk to re-offend score, OR
2.	 There is an error in the crime severity level.

32

	 The Special Form
This type of request can be filled out on a special form. The person gets the form from his or her
counselor in prison. Use of the special form is preferred, but not required. A request for reconsideration
can be written in a letter.
	 Getting Help
The Parole Board encourages people to get help from the counselors or the warden to fill out the form
requesting reconsideration for the guidelines decision. However, the person is not required to have the
form signed by a counselor or warden.
	 The Deadline
The written request for reconsideration of the guidelines decision must be sent to the Parole Guidelines
Director in the Board’s office within 30 days of the decision. Ga. Comp. R. & Regs § 475-3-.05(5).

33

PAROLE REVIEW
STEP EIGHT: THE PAROLE BOARD CONDUCTS THE PAROLE REVIEW
During the parole review, also known as the Final Review, the Board examines any new information added to the
person’s parole file after the person was last considered for parole. The parole review is conducted before the
tentative parole month and before the scheduled reconsideration date in order to determine whether to grant
or deny parole. As a result of the parole review, a person may be denied parole, even if that person received a
tentative parole month when the Board first reviewed the person’s parole file.
For individuals with tentative parole months, the Board is trying to determine whether the person is still suitable
for being released on parole. If not, the Board denies parole. For individuals with reconsideration dates, the
Board is deciding whether the person has changed for the better, so that the Board now feels comfortable
enough to grant parole. Essentially, the Board has to conclude that the person in prison will no longer pose a risk
to public safety.
Parole review takes place automatically. The person in prison does NOT have to fill out any paperwork or make
any requests. When the Parole Board begins the parole review process, the Board checks the residence plan
to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date. The Board examines new information looking for any materials that
show the person to be a risk to public safety. The Board is likely to find the following types of new information
compelling:
	 Statements from the victim, the victim’s family, or community members stating their support or
opposition to parole;
	 Statements from court officers (the judge, the district attorney, or police officers) supporting or
opposing parole;
	 Any new prison disciplinary reports or institutional misconduct.
TIME SCHEDULES FOR PAROLE REVIEW
Parole review takes place at these times:
	 For People with a Tentative Parole Month or Reconsideration Date	
The parole review takes place a few months before the tentative parole month or reconsideration date.
	 For People Serving Life Sentences
The parole review takes place when the person becomes parole eligible. See Appendix A.
	 For People with No Tentative Parole Month or Reconsideration Date
The parole review takes place at least once every eight years for those serving life sentences. Those
without life sentences are reviewed every five years from the date of Parole Eligibility Date (PED) if
denied parole.

34

THE UPDATED PAROLE FILE
The following materials may be added to the person’s parole file before parole review:
	 Updates on the person’s conduct and behavior, including new disciplinary reports;
	 Results from any medical or mental health examinations;
	 Results of any standardized reading tests;
	 Any educational program completed by the person in prison;
	 Any signs of personal growth on behalf of the person in prison;
These signs may include any improvements in the person’s behavior toward other individuals (e.g. the
person is getting along better with other people in prison, is helpful around the prison, or responds
respectfully to authority). The parole offcers will also note how the person spent his or her free time.
	 The person’s prison work record;
	 The type of work that the person may be most qualified and most likely to succeed in doing.
THE PAROLE REVIEW PROCESS
	 The Department of Corrections Prepares a Parole Review Summary
The parole review summary provides the Board with a summary of the person’s behavioral record while
incarcerated. The summary also includes all the GDC programs and training sessions that the person
completed in prison. Sometimes, the summary has statements from the warden and counselors.
	 Disciplinary Reports Are Summarized
All disciplinary reports are added to the person’s parole file.
	 The Hearing Examiner Writes a New Summary
The new summary contains information about any materials added to the parole file since the person
was last reviewed for parole.
	 The Parole Board Votes and Makes its Decision
At the end of the parole review, the Board will vote in one of three ways:
1.	 To grant parole and release the person during the tentative parole month or on the
reconsideration date.
2.	 To deny parole for the moment, but set another tentative parole month or reconsideration date
and make a decision to grant or deny parole then.
3.	 To deny parole altogether and not set another tentative parole month or reconsideration date.
If no date is set, the person with a life sentence will be reviewed at least within the next eight
years. A person not serving a life sentence will be reviewed within the next five years.
	 The Judge and Prosecutor are Informed of the Upcoming Release
Within 72 hours after the Parole Board reaches a final decision to parole a person, the Parole Board will
notify the following persons about the parole decision: the district attorney, the judge, the victim(s),
the sheriff of each county in which the person was tried, convicted, and sentenced, and the local law
enforcement authorities of the county of the last residence of the person prior to incarceration. O.C.G.A.
35

§ 42-9-47.
PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS FOR PAROLE RELEASE
There are two program requirements imposed by Georgia law on certain incarcerated people. O.C.G.A. § 429-45. The Parole Board is not allowed to release people who are required to complete these programs until
they have finished the programs. The programs must be completed, even if it means waiting months past the
tentative parole month or serving 100% of the person’s sentence.
	 Drug- and Alcohol-Related Crimes
Individuals who are incarcerated for drug- or alcohol-related crimes or those with a history of drug or
alcohol abuse must complete an alcohol or drug use risk-reduction program before they can be released
on parole. O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45(h).
	 Crimes Related to Family Violence
Individuals who are incarcerated for crimes concerning family violence must complete a Family Violence
Counseling Program before being released O.C.G.A. § 42-9-45(i).
In addition, the Board may require a person to complete programs not required by law as a pre-condition
for release.

CHECKING PAROLE STATUS
HOW TO CHECK A PERSON’S PAROLE STATUS
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles has an automated phone line which provides the status of a person’s
parole case and the most recent parole decision for each person in prison. The number is 404-656-5651. In order
to get information about a case, the person must have either the inmate’s case number (EF#) or the Department
of Corrections ID number.

36

MEDICAL REPRIEVES
A medical reprieve is a parole decision that is rarely granted. A person must be very ill to get a medical reprieve.
Specifically, the Georgia Constitution states that a person is eligible for a medical reprieve if he or she is “an
entirely incapacitated person suffering a progressively debilitating terminal illness.” Ga. Const. art. IV, § 2, ¶ 2.
When the Parole Board grants a medical reprieve, the person is allowed to leave prison temporarily due to his or
her medical needs. The time spent on reprieve does not count as time served. As such, the person is expected to
return to prison to continue serving his or her sentence as soon as the medical emergency has been rectified.
No one has a legal right to a medical reprieve. Approval of the medical reprieve by the person’s doctor
or the GDC Statewide Medical Director does not ensure a medical reprieve. The Parole Board makes the
final decision to grant or deny the reprieve.
REQUIREMENTS FOR A MEDICAL REPRIEVE
The Parole Board rarely grants medical reprieves. They are only given when:
	 The person is extremely ill and is on the verge of dying;
	 The person has a terminal illness;
	 The person has a serious medical condition that requires more resources than the Georgia Department
of Corrections can provide; or
	 The person is suffering from a serious medical condition that cannot be reversed
For individuals serving a sentence for a serious violent felony (murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape,
aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, or aggravated sexual battery), medical reprieves are only
granted if the person is terminally ill with less than six months to live and is completely incapacitated.

	

THE MEDICAL REPRIEVE PROCESS
	 Step 1: Approval from the Georgia Department of Corrections
Unlike other parole decisions, the request for a medical reprieve begins with the Georgia Department
of Corrections (“GDC”). The GDC must approve the medical reprieve before the request can go to the
Parole Board.
	 Step 2: Prison Doctor and Counselor Submit Medical Reprieve Request Form
The prison doctor must agree to submit a request for a medical reprieve. If the prison doctor does not
think the person qualifies for a reprieve, he or she is not required to submit the request. Thus, the
person will NOT get a medical reprieve.
	 Step 3: Warden Makes Recommendation
Once the warden has received the medical reprieve request, the warden makes his or her
recommendation. The warden has three options: recommend the medical reprieve, recommend against
the reprieve, or not make a recommendation at all. The warden then sends the reprieve request to the
GDC Director of Inmate Administration.

37

	 Step 4: GDC Director of Inmate Administration Makes Decision
The GDC Director of Inmate Administration makes his or her decision to approve or disapprove the
medical reprieve request. If he or she approves the request, it is sent to the GDC Statewide Medical
Director. If the GDC Director of Inmate Administration rejects the request, the request will not be sent to
the Parole Board.
	 Step 5: GDC Statewide Medical Director Makes Decision
The GDC Statewide Medical Director reviews the medical reprieve request. If the GDC Statewide Medical
Director approves the request, it goes to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. If he or she rejects the
request, it does not go to the Parole Board. Thus, the person will NOT receive a medical reprieve.
	 Step 6: The Medical Reprieve Hearing Examiner Prepares Request
The approved request then goes to the Medical Reprieve Hearing Examiner. He or she prepares the
request for a vote by the Parole Board.
	 Step 7: The Parole Board Votes
Each Parole Board member votes individually to grant or deny the medical reprieve. If a majority votes in
favor of granting the request, the person will receive the medical reprieve. Otherwise, the reprieve
is denied.
HELPING A LOVED ONE TO GET A MEDICAL REPRIEVE
	 Contact the Health Services Administrator, Warden, or Superintendent
If you believe that a person may qualify for a medical reprieve, contact the Health Services Administrator,
the warden, or the superintendent of the prison.
	 Plan Ahead
Think about the needs that the person may have if granted a medical reprieve, for example, a wheel
chair ramp or hospice care. The Parole Board is unlikely to grant a medical reprieve if the person’s needs
cannot be accommodated. Be prepared to explain how the family intends to provide for the person’s
special needs.
	 Work with the Prisoner’s Counselor
Write a brief letter in support of the person’s medical reprieve request and give the letter to the
counselor. The counselor will include the letter with the Medical Reprieve Request Form. The letter
should include how the family will make sure that the person receives medical care, and how the family
intends to provide assistance to the person.

38

HIRING AN ATTORNEY OR ADVOCATE
Many people ask whether they should hire an attorney to help them get parole. People disagree about how
helpful it can be to hire an attorney. Sometimes, attorneys provide helpful assistance with getting information
into the parole file. Other times, the attorney charges a lot of money and is not helpful at all.
The most important thing to remember is that there are NO guarantees. The final decision is up to the Parole
Board. Thus, no attorney or advocate can promise that his or her work will result in parole or in an earlier
reconsideration date.
CHECKLIST FOR FAMILIES WHO HIRE PAROLE ATTORNEYS OR ADVOCATES
Before giving any attorney or advocate any money, the family should:

	
Be sure that the lawyer or advocate has the right experience and qualifications.
If possible, get a recommendation from a reliable source. Ask the attorney for references from past
clients that can be called. Also, remember that ONLY attorneys who are active members in good standing
of the State Bar of Georgia may be paid to advocate for someone before the Parole Board. O.C.G.A. §
42-9-16. Unfortunately, there have been reported instances of “scams” in which family members paid
money to people who falsely represented themselves as lawyers with “connections” to the Parole Board.
You can check to make sure the person is a licensed attorney by checking the website of the State Bar of
Georgia.

	
Find out how much experience the lawyer has with the Parole Board.
If the person is a lawyer, call the Georgia Bar to see if there are any complaints against him or her. The
numbers are 1-800-334-6865 and 404-537-8700. The website for the State Bar of Georgia is www.gabar.
org.

	
Know exactly how much money the lawyer will charge and what that money is buying.
The family should confirm the scope of the representation. The following questions may be helpful
to ask:
	 Will the attorney make an examination or assessment of the case?
	 Will the attorney prepare a letter or a report for the parole file?
	 Will the attorney send or present the report to the Parole Board?
	 Will there be additional costs?
	 Will the incarcerated person or the family receive copies of all work done?

	
Know exactly what will be included in any report prepared for the Board and how that information
should help the person’s chance for parole.	

39

APPENDIX A: RISK TO RE-OFFEND WORKSHEET
The following information was provided to SCHR
by the Stare Board of Pardons and ParoleS in April 2012.

Risk Factor	

Points

Current Prison Conviction Offense(s)* - score all types
Other Offense (minimum score, if no conviction listed below) .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 0
Burglary. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1
Drug Possession.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1
Forgery .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2
Obstruction. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 3
Theft .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5
*If multiple convictions for the same offense, score only once per offense type.
Number of Felony Convictions Counts (including current prison episode)
0. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 0
1-2.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1
3. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2
4-5.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 3
6-7.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4
8. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5
9 or more .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6
Number of Prior Prison Incarceration Episodes
None.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 0
1. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1
2. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 3
3. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4
4 or more .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6
Age at Prison Admission (current prison episode)
Up to 20 years .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 0
Over 20 to 40 years .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . -1
Over 40 years .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . -2
History of Drug or Alcohol Problem
No .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 0
Yes.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2
Employed at Time of Arrest (full- or part-time)
No .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 0
Yes.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . -3
Total Points	
Up to 2 points	
3-6 points	
7 or more points	

Risk Group
Low
Medium
High
40

APPENDIX B: PAROLE GUIDELINES
CRIME SEVERITY LEVELS (Post 2006)
The following information was provided to SCHR by the Board in June 2012
LEVEL I — 15 to 26 months
Bad Checks - under $2,000
Burglary - non-dwelling, less than $300, one count
Credit Card Theft
Criminal Interference with Government Property
Escape Custody - no weapon, aiding escape
Forgery II - possession, 10 or fewer counts or less than $1,000
Habitual Violator
Possession/passing forged prescriptions - first offense
Possession of tools to commit a crime
Theft - under $1,000
Theft of Vehicle - not to sell; one count, first offense
VGCSA - possession, single offense
LEVEL II — 18 to 28 months
Bad Checks - $2,000 or more
Burglary - non-dwelling, $300 to $2,000, one count
Credit Card Fraud - 10 or fewer counts or less than $1,000
Criminal Damage II - $300 to $2,000
Forgery I - 10 or fewer counts or less than $1,000
Possession of Illegal Firearm or Explosives
Possession/Theft - materials to manufacture illegal drugs, first offense
Reckless Conduct by HIV Infected Persons
Theft - $1,000 to $4,999
Theft of Vehicle - not for sale, second offense
VGCSA - possession, second offense
VGCSA - sale/intent to sell/distribution, first offense
LEVEL III — 20 to 32 months
Burglary - non-dwelling, 2 to 5 counts, or $2,001 to $5,000
Credit Card Fraud - more than 10 counts or $1,000
Criminal Damage - life in danger or over $2,000
Destroying or Injuring Police Dog or Horse
Forgery I - over 10 counts or $1,000 or more
Manufacturing Methamphetamine - first offense
Obstruction of Officers - Felony
Possession/Theft - materials to manufacture illegal drugs, second offense
Terroristic Threats
Theft - $5,000 to $10,000
Theft of Vehicle - for sale or 2 to 3 counts without intent to sell or third offense
VGCSA - sale - second offense or third drug possession

41

LEVEL IV — 22 to 38 months
Arson II - $2,000
Burglary - non-dwelling, over $5,000 or 6 or more counts
Homicide by Vehicle - not DUI/HV
Manufacturing Methamphetamine - near a child
Serious Injury by Vehicle
Theft of Vehicle - 4 or more counts or fourth or greater offense
Theft - over $10,000
VGCSA - sale/distribution/intent to sell
Schedule I or II drugs, second offense
LEVEL V — 30 to 60 months
Aggravated Assault (no injury or weapon)
Arson I
VGCSA - Cocaine or Meth. - 28 to 199 grams*
Identity Fraud
VGCSA - Marijuana - 10 to 1,999 pounds*
Manufacturing Meth. - 2nd offense or child injured
VGCSA - Opiates - 4 to 13 grams*
VGCSA - sale/distribution/intent to sell Schedule I or II drugs, third offense
VCGSA - Meth. Trafficking - less than 200 grams*
LEVEL VI — 36 to 78 months
Burglary - unoccupied dwelling
VGCSA - Cocaine or Meth. 200 to 399 grams*
VGCSA - Marijuana - 2000 to 9,999 pounds*
VGCSA - Opiates - 14 to 27 grams*
LEVEL VII — 40 to 102 months
Attempted Aggravated Child Molestation
Attempted Armed Robbery
Attempted Kidnapping
Attempted Aggravated Sexual Battery
Attempted Aggravated Sodomy
Pimping or Pandering a child under age 18
Probation Revocation based on Level VIII offense
Probation Revocation based on Serious Violent Felony
RICO Act

42

LEVEL VIII — 65% to 90% of prison sentence
Aggravated Assault (with injury or weapon)
Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer
Aggravated Battery
Aggravated Battery on Police Officer
Aggravated Stalking
Attempted Rape
Attempted Murder
Burglary - occupied residence
Bus Hijacking
Child Molestation
Cruelty to Children
Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes
Feticide by Vehicle
Hijacking Motor Vehicle
Homicide by Vehicle while DUI or Hab. Violator
Incest
Involuntary Manslaughter
Robbery
Statutory Rape
Voluntary Manslaughter
VGCSA - Cocaine or Meth.- 400+ grams *
VGCSA - Marijuana 10,000+ pounds*
VGCSA - Opiates - 28+ grams*
Not Parole Eligible except on Life Sentence**
Aggravated Sexual Battery
Aggravated Child Molestation
Aggravated Sodomy
Armed Robbery
Kidnapping
Rape
Murder
*Based on the gross weight of any mixture containing a controlled substance
** Eligible for Parole Consideration after 14 years, or 30 years if crime committed after July 1, 2006
Chart Applies to Crimes Committed on or after January 1, 2006.
Chart does not include all crimes. To obtain the severity level for unlisted crimes, contact a Board hearing
examiner at (404) 656-5651.
Revised – March 2008

43

APPENDIX C: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following list of frequently asked questions is copied from the website of the Georgia Board of Pardons and
Paroles (www.pap.state.ga.us):
1. What is parole?
Parole is the discretionary decision of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to release a certain offender from
confinement after he or she has served an appropriate portion of a prison sentence, as determined by the Parole
Board. Persons on parole remain under state supervision and control according to conditions which, if violated,
allow for re-imprisonment.
2. What is the difference between probation and parole?
Probation is an act of the court, not of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. Probation instead of
imprisonment may be ordered by a court for all or part of a person’s sentence. Probation is not parole. Parole
may be granted only by the Parole Board after a person has served part of his sentence in prison.
3. Does the Parole Board run the prisons?
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles is not responsible for any operations of the State prison system. Only
the Department of Corrections administers the prison, transfers an inmate from one prison to another, assigns
an inmate to prison programs including work-release centers, makes an inmate a trustee, computes time to be
served, issues time sheets, provides medical care, grants visiting and mail privileges, assigns inmate numbers
and takes prison disciplinary action. Questions about those things should be directed to the Department of
Corrections at 404-656-4661.
4. Do Board Members visit prisons to personally talk to inmates being considered for parole?
Due to Georgia’s large inmate population spread in institutions around the state, such a system would be
unworkable. Currently the Board reviews more than 15,000 cases annually.
5. When are inmates considered for parole?
By law inmates are eligible to be considered for parole usually after serving one-third of their prison sentence.
Exceptions to this are offenders sentenced to a term-of-years sentence for a serious violent felony, life without
parole and fourth-felony recidivists. Eligible inmates are automatically considered for parole, regardless of
appeals or other legal action by the inmate or his or her representative.
At the time of consideration, the Board may establish a Tentative Parole Month in the future or may deny parole
entirely. The Board may reconsider and change a prior decision in a case, for any reason, at any time, up to the
time of release. Most Georgia inmates have a right to be considered for parole, but they do not have a right or
“liberty interest” which requires release on parole.
6. Are inmates considered for parole more than once?
Yes, non-life sentenced inmates are reviewed every five years after PED. Inmates who are serving life sentences
who are denied parole must, by law, be reconsidered for parole at regular intervals not to exceed eight years.

44

7. How is a decision reached by Board Members?
When an inmate is considered for parole, the case file is given to one of the five Board Members, who studies it,
deliberates alone, and renders his or her independent decision.
On non-life cases, Board Members determine whether the Guidelines recommendation for parole denial or for a
tentative release month is appropriate in each case or whether mitigating or aggravating factors should override
the recommendation.
This process continues until the majority decision has been reached on whether or not to parole the individual,
and if so, when.
8. What are Parole Decision Guidelines?
It is a carefully researched method of standardizing offenders’ confinement times based on crime severity and
parole risk. Implemented in 1979 and revised several times since, the Parole Decision Guidelines is used to
assist the Board in making consistent, soundly based, and understandable parole decisions on inmates serving
non-life sentences. The offender’s likelihood of success on parole is measured by weighted factors concerning
the offender’s criminal and social history which the Board has found to have value predicting the probability of
further criminal behavior and successful adjustment under parole supervision.
9. Are Parole Decision Guidelines used to determine parole for lifers?
The Parole Decision Guidelines are used for non-life cases only. In life cases, primary emphasis during
consideration is given to the nature and severity of the crime.
10. What sort of information is contained in the inmate file reviewed by the Board?
The file contains a personal interview with the inmate, diagnostic prison data, social background information,
and legal circumstances of the offense(s), possibly interviews with prosecutors or arresting officers or victims.
Criminal history is included in the file, obtained from juvenile records, the GBI and FBI. Letters from the
community are read and pertinent information is extracted and placed in the file along with court official
comments.
The Victim Impact Statement is a permanent part of the file, as is any correspondence by or on behalf of the
victim. Prison reports of conduct, attitude or performance incentive credits are included, and lastly, the parole
guidelines recommendation which has been based on factors extracted from all the information submitted.
11. Are all inmates considered for parole?
Offenders serving a non-life sentence for one or more of the “serious violent felonies” committed on or after
January 1, 1995, are not eligible for parole and must serve 100% of the prison term imposed by the Judge. The
“serious violent felonies” are murder, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual
battery, armed robbery, and kidnapping.
By law, all other inmates in state custody are considered for parole at least once during their prison term, unless
they are sentenced as a recidivist, to life without parole, or are under a death sentence. Georgia is the only state
in the U.S. in which inmates serve 100% of their sentence for certain crimes, or if they are denied parole. There is
no good time, gained time, or earned time applied to prison sentences in Georgia.
12. How can I check the status of an inmate’s case?
You can check the status of an inmate’s case by calling the Board’s 24-hour automated line at 404-656-5651 and
follow the prompt to enter the inmate’s EF or Case number. The automated line will give you the most current
status on the inmate’s case.
45

13. When is electronic monitoring used?
Beginning in January 1996 the Board began requiring electronic monitoring for all serious offenders released on
parole. These offenders will have restricted movement from their homes for the first three or four months of
their release and any violation may result in an immediate return to prison. Other parolees may be placed on
electronic monitoring at any time during their supervision.
14. Why are inmates released by the Board, rather than serving their entire sentences?
In Georgia, the Judge sets the maximum term of confinement, and the Parole Board determines the minimum
time to serve. The Board was created for the purpose of providing a non-judicial review of inmate cases, to
minimize sentencing disparities, to consider rehabilitative efforts by the inmate, and to select those inmates,
after careful review, most likely to succeed on parole.
In Georgia, as in other states, limited resources, increased incarceration rates, and lengthy sentences, has
meant limited prison bed space. No system can accommodate the steady influx of full-term sentences. Without
paroles from prison, overcrowding would result in Federal court intervention with mass releases and no state
control over when or which inmates are released. Other systematic approaches, such as sentencing guidelines or
structured sentencing, when implemented in other states, have resulted in a number of undesirable results such
as inmates serving less time in prison, shorter sentences, fewer convicted felons actually going to prison, gained
time or earned time further reducing the sentence, limited judicial discretion, increased appeals, and a reduction
or elimination of important supervision upon release.
15. How much voice does the victim have in the parole process?
The impact of a crime on a victim, and the victim’s concerns for safety are major considerations in each parole
decision. In addition to parole denial, the Board has other restrictive options that take the victim into account,
such as adding special parole conditions which ban the parolee from certain areas or require him to pay
restitution to the victim. In 1991 the Board established its Victim Services Office so that victims and agencies
representing victims would have a faster and more personal response to their needs. The Board continually
strives for ways to attend to victims during this last phase of the criminal justice process. Also see Parole’s Office
of Victim Services. The Board is entrusted to make an objective decision rising above political and personal
consideration.
16. Are victims notified of a parole?
Yes, if they have submitted a Victim Impact Statement or if they write and ask to be notified. Also see Community
Notification.
17. What are the benefits of parole?
Prison punishes the offender but does not teach him or her how to deal successfully with society. Most inmates
eventually return to society, and usually with fewer employment and social skills than when they entered.
The first six months after an inmate’s release from prison is the most vulnerable period. While experiencing the
low self-esteem and disorientation typical after prison, he is often subjected to peer pressure to return to his
former lifestyle. Offenders with substance abuse problems are particularly susceptible. The fear of returning to
prison is not always strong enough to overcome the immediate pressures an offender may feel. A combination of
monitored supervision and practical assistance in obtaining jobs, counseling, and support, can place the offender
in a supportive, rather than destructive, context, and pave the way for his new, law-abiding life.

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18. How are parolees supervised?
Parole officers, all of whom are four-year college graduates with extensive training, work to ensure the parolee
re-enters society with all the community monitoring, support and guidance available to prevent the offender
from returning to crime. Parolees are assigned a case plan based on the severity of their offense, their particular
needs, such as literacy training, and the length of time they will have on parole. Each case is individually planned
within an established structure of agency requirements such as frequent visits, reports, and other conditions to
safeguard the community.
Parole officers regularly visit the parolee, his family, and his employer, to determine the parolee’s compliance
with conditions. Although every effort is made to help the parolee overcome addictions, learn new skills, and
adjust to society’s demands, the parole officer’s primary responsibility is the community’s safety. Georgia
parole officers are POST certified peace officers who are authorized to arrest parole violators. See also Parole
Supervision .
19. What is the cost of parole?
The cost of parole is $2.91 per day per parolee.
20. How much control does parole supervision provide?
There are degrees of supervision in the community just as there are in prison. Studies have shown that certain
low-risk non-violent offenders actually perform better with moderate, rather than maximum, supervision.
Others require much more structure and control. At the highest end of supervision is maximum supervision
with electronic monitoring which is used in two ways: punitively, for parolees who are not complying fully
with technical conditions of their parole and who need 24-hour monitoring to see if revocation is in order;
and preventively, for offenders straight out of prison who could benefit by a more gradual transition into the
community.
21. What is parole’s success rate?
Each year roughly 12 percent of Georgia’s 25,000 parolee populations are returned to prison. Of these less than
10 percent are sent back for committing a new crime; most return for failing to abide by the technical terms of
their conditional release.
For further information contact the Hearing Examiner’s Office at (404) 656-5712 or the Victims Services Office
at 1 (800) 593-9474.

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