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Parole is defined a period of conditional supervised release back in the community following a prison term. A parole does not change the original sentence imposed on an offender but rather suspends the sentence upon certain conditions being met.
The Pardon and Parole Board can grant paroles for non-violent offenders. Only the Governor can grant paroles for offenders convicted of a violent offense(s) following a favorable recommendation by the Pardon and Parole Board.
The Department of Corrections supervises offenders on parole. A parolee can be returned to prison to serve the remaining portion of the sentence if specific rules and conditions are not followed.
Parole i s divided into two categories:
1. Violent Crimes
2. Non-Violent Crimes
If an offender has been convicted on a violent crime, they must serve 85% of their sentence to be eligible for parole consideration. The list of violent offenses are listed in Title 57 of Oklahoma Statutes. When an offender receives a favorable recommendation by the Pardon and Parole Board for a violent crime, the recommendation is then sent to the Governor for final approval.
If an offender has been convicted on a non-violent crime, they must serve 1/3 of their sentence to be eligible for parole consideration. When an offender receives favorable recommendation by the Pardon and Parole Board for a non-violent crime, the recommendation then becomes final and does not require the Governor's approval.
The ultimate goal of parole is to provide community supervision to offenders who have served their sentence in prison to have the chance to integrate back in to society while being monitored. There can be certain conditions (programs, services, limitations or restrictions) placed on the parolee that they must complete or adhere to in order to be successful. However, if the parolee violates any of the conditions of parole, it may result in the imposition of additional conditions, up to and including returning the offender back to the institutional setting.
Each offender is given an initial parole docket eligibility date when they are processed into the prison system (unless otherwise not qualified under statute).
In advance of an offender’s eligibility date, an investigative report will be prepared by a Parole Investigator. A hearing will be scheduled and the report will be presented and reviewed by the Pardon and Parole Board.
When the hearing date is set, a notice is sent to the offender, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the prosecuting District Attorneys, and the victim(s) of the crime who have registered with the Pardon and Parole Board.
The Pardon and Parole Board considers the safety of the victim and general public in making their decisions. Before granting parole, the Board strongly considers whether or not an offender has demonstrated appropriate behavior while in an institution which ensures an opportunity for success socially and economically. Each offender's situation is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Each member of the Pardon and Parole Board votes individually and a majority vote is required for a favorable vote. Three (3) out of five (5) Board members must cast a positive vote for the parole to be granted. Each vote is not finalized until the meeting is adjourned on the final day.Afterwards the votes are validated, and are posted for public dissemination.
The Pardon and Parole Board makes one of four (4) decisions at parole hearings. The decisions are:
1. Recommend parole for a violent offender to the Governor;
2. Grant parole for a non-violent offender;
3. Pass the offender to another docket.
4. Denial of parole for the offender.
If the Pardon and Parole Board denies an offender parole, the violent offender will not be considered for another three (3) years. Non-violent offenders will not be considered for one (1) year.
Just because an offender is eligible for a parole hearing, does not mean the parole will be granted automatically. There are many factors which are considered when granting parole.