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Pennsylvania Parole, Probation, Work Release, Halfway Houses & Community Service All information relating to parole, probation, halfway houses, community service and electronic monitoring in Pennsylvania should be posted here.

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  #1  
Old 01-31-2018, 10:10 AM
ward60 ward60 is offline
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Default Payment on court fees, fines and restitution as condition for Parole

My son went before parole for the second time. First time, the 'issues' were his class not recorded as complete and they did not feel he was fully taking responsibility.
This time, the big beef that the agent had with him was that his parents (wife and I) were not paying on his fees, fines and restitution (FF&R). We do regularly put monies on his commissary account, and the prison takes out 20 percent and some months more, and sends to county to pay on his FF&R. A typical month they take out between $50 to $65 dollars, and a few months they have taken out over $120.
What I read in the Handbook is that he only needs a couple special fees paid (totalling between $50 to $60) which was paid a long time ago.
No one told us that we had to be going into the county courthouse to make periodic payments in addition to what is coming out of what I pay into his commissary. As it is, what I put on his commissary account is borrowed monies. Paying off his FF&R was not mentioned/listed on his green sheet last time and this is the first I ever heard of this stipulation, so can the Parole Board use this as a condition for denial of parole? Or was this lady from PA Parole just cranking on him?
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Old 01-31-2018, 12:19 PM
xolady xolady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ward60 View Post
My son went before parole for the second time. First time, the 'issues' were his class not recorded as complete and they did not feel he was fully taking responsibility.
This time, the big beef that the agent had with him was that his parents (wife and I) were not paying on his fees, fines and restitution (FF&R). We do regularly put monies on his commissary account, and the prison takes out 20 percent and some months more, and sends to county to pay on his FF&R. A typical month they take out between $50 to $65 dollars, and a few months they have taken out over $120.
What I read in the Handbook is that he only needs a couple special fees paid (totalling between $50 to $60) which was paid a long time ago.
No one told us that we had to be going into the county courthouse to make periodic payments in addition to what is coming out of what I pay into his commissary. As it is, what I put on his commissary account is borrowed monies. Paying off his FF&R was not mentioned/listed on his green sheet last time and this is the first I ever heard of this stipulation, so can the Parole Board use this as a condition for denial of parole? Or was this lady from PA Parole just cranking on him?
How old is he I never heard of parents having to make restitution unless it was a minor?
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Old 01-31-2018, 12:28 PM
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How old is he I never heard of parents having to make restitution unless it was a minor?
He is in his late 20's. I reviewed his docket sheet again this morning, and PA DOC has been pulling anywhere from $55 to $130 per month from his commissary and sending to County to pay against his Fees, Fines & Restitution. Our lawyer told us to NOT make any payments against his FF&R because those are his responsibility to pay off when he comes home and while he is on parole, which he plans to do after he comes home and gets a job, and to make payments from his savings account until he gets a job.
My son has already made agreement with my wife and I that he will pay us back everything once he gets back on his feet. I'm also making payments on his college loans each month, which he intends to pay me back.
He had his hearing this morning, and he said everything went well until the lady from Parole started getting all over him about his parents not making payments on his FF&R with County.
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Old 01-31-2018, 12:40 PM
xolady xolady is offline
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If he's making pymts from his acct, I doubt that can be held against him. I really don't know but I know where I lived if a minor had it was the parents problem not the kid. It might be because your paying student loans call the attorney and blast him.
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Old 01-31-2018, 01:47 PM
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If he's making pymts from his acct, I doubt that can be held against him. I really don't know but I know where I lived if a minor had it was the parents problem not the kid. It might be because your paying student loans call the attorney and blast him.
Thanks for the feedback.

I hope this nightmare is soon over. This happened with our son in his last semester of college. I am co-signer on his loans, so I am on the hook to keep up with his loan payments, as well as see that he is provided for while he is in prison, via his commissary account.
It has been a huge hardship on my wife and I, so the sooner he comes home the sooner he can get a job and finish up his college classes part time.
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Old 02-01-2018, 05:19 PM
kiwi86 kiwi86 is offline
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What in the world?!?! Ive never heard of this. It is absolutely not the parents responsibility whatsoever to pay for your sons mistakes. I am SURE hes going to be on parole and probation after his jail sentence in which he will need to be making monthly payments toward his restitution. I am baffled at what I just read in your post. Makes no sense at all.
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Old 02-01-2018, 05:21 PM
kiwi86 kiwi86 is offline
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To add to my last reply-think about the people who don’t even have parents and family to make these so called payments that they were talking about. In no way should it affect his parole that someone else wasn’t paying for HIS restitution and court fines. They let people out of jail everyday and I just can not see how they would expect someone else to pay for his problems.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:31 AM
waitinguntil001 waitinguntil001 is offline
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Yes, agreed. Something does not sound kosher. I know (if this is a state prison inmate) that certain fees must be paid before being parole like the victims compensation fund but that is only about $35 or so depending. If money has been deducted from his account for each deposit you made and the docket sheet shows it has been being sent to county something is not right if parole is stating they will not grant parole on that sole reason. There are many inmates that make parole where money is taken from their inmate account and sent to county who do not have anyone paying anything on their docket while in prison and still make parole. There must be something else there other than this reason.
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:52 AM
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Again get his attorney or someone who has legal knowledge of these things, it doesn't sound right and I am sure parole can't block him because others are not making payments on his behalf.
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:43 PM
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On Saturday we went to visit our son. He told us a lot more details that he was not able to share over the phone. Our son talked to several other prisoners that were interviewed by this Parole agent. She is notorious for using intimidation tactics, and this ‘line’ of family not paying on your fines and fees is a common thing she spews out. Actually, we did the calculations and about 25 percent of what we put into our son’s commissary account is being pulled out and sent back to county to pay on his fees, fines and restitution.
This parole agent also ‘had issues’ with us, his parents, putting monies on his commissary account, his phone account, and visiting him every weekend. She said that NO prisoner should receive the support of family and friends.
As we are finding out, this is all a part of her intimidation game.
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  #11  
Old 02-04-2018, 05:35 PM
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Ok Ward60 do this. I am assuming you may not know that you can look at your son's docket sheet for his case and it will show the payments made already. It may be a month or so behind but you will be able to see what has been paid.

If you don't know how to find his docket sheet (and I suggest you do this on a laptop or PC I have heard that some people have problems with cell phones) go HERE. Scroll down to "Search Type". Select "Participant Name" in the drop down box. Select the county he was convicted in and then select "Criminal" for "Docket Type". you can enter his birth date but probably not necessary unless he has a very common first and last name. Then click on "Search". After you click on search scroll up just a little bit because sometimes it looks like there are no results because their system does not push the screen up for you to see them and it looks like it is not doing anything. Once you see the results (it will show all results of names matching) look for the docket sheet for your son. On the left hand column you will see "Docket Number". Hover your mouse over the docket sheet (icon just to that left of the docket number) that belongs to your son. When you do this you will see "Docket Sheet" and "Court Summary". Click on "Docket Sheet". Once his docket sheet comes up (you can download it as a pdf also if you want) the financial portion is at the end of the docket sheet. Prior to that normally is a listing of all the payments that have been made by the prison to his county docket sheet. If your son has been in state for a while you should be able to see many of the payments that have been made by the prison (deducting from his inmate account - either for money you send him or his job if he has one). If you do not see any payments recorded then there is a problem and you should contact the prison and report it. If there are payments being reported on his docket sheet then this Parole hearing examiner is messing with your son. It is very possible that if you see the payments are recorded that the parole hearing examiner is attempting to agitate your son to see his reaction. These examiners have their methods of testing the inmate during their parole hearing. I remember when I had mine back in 2010 the examiner on the TV video conference was running me thru the "wash cycle" with his questioning and badgering, and he was really "banging" on me. I kept my cool though. This examiner on the video conference got so bad that the examiner in the room with me actually stood up suddenly and broke the tone by saying "Ok, Mr. so-and-so, we would like to thank you for your time and we wish you the best of luck with the outcome of this hearing" - he realized the guy on the TV conference was going way overboard. Three weeks late I got my green sheet "Parole Granted".

Also every single month you son should be receiving an "Inmate Accounting" statement. The prison prints this out and it should show every single deposit and deduction to his account. That is your first line of proof. If he has the statement and it shows deductions for these then she is blowing smoke up his "rump".

Honestly I don't think I could ever recall any instant where any inmate ever said they were denied parole soley because payments have not been being made. Except again the one or two fines (around $35 each) that absolutely must be paid before they will release you. And quite honestly let's take this logically. If the parole board would deny your son parole for the lone fact of "no payments are being made on your account" - we can go one step further and say that - as an example: your son is just some guy in prison. No family members sending him money and just earning his little $0.31 per hour with his state prison job. Don't you think that the board would be more motivated to parole this individual making only $0.31 a hour (of which a tiny portion is going to his court costs and fines etc). Being on parole and working in the "real world" he would be earning $8 or more per hour and be able to pay off more sooner.

Honestly I just think it is an intimidation factor. And one more thing I will tell you. Some of these examiners will really put you thru the ringer. They know how intimidated you feel when sitting before them. As an ex-inmate I will tell you that it is nothing less than "scary" and it caused me to tremble (I have an anxiety issue). You see your name on the "call out" sheet that morning "Parole Hearing 11:45am". Then the clock starts really ticking. Now your mind goes crazy with all the things you think you need to say and all the things you know you should not say. You walk in the room. There is a guard and usually one in room examiner and usually one on the TV conference. Then the questioning starts and you get hit from all sides. You start to feel like a mouse being chased by a cat and no where to hide but you must keep your kewl because you know these 4-8 minutes is all you got to convince these people you are ready for the "free world". I can bet you the inmate has more anxiety than a salesman for an advertising firm pitching a huge concept for a major corporation in those same number of minutes. you have to be straight lased and cool. You have to tell them and convince them of every word out of your mouth.

Sorry, went off on tangent. Again, check his docket sheet. If it does not show any payments call his counselor and let him/her know. Something may be messed up with the record keeping but even as I said an inmate with no money coming in still has money going from his pay or Inmate general welfare fund going towards the cost/fines etc.

Last edited by waitinguntil001; 02-04-2018 at 05:43 PM..
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2018, 09:07 AM
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I checked the PBPP decision-making handbook. There is no expectation that anyone except the inmate make payments towards FF&R. The DOC process of sending a percentage of monies placed in the inmate account was developed for this reason. Whatever this interviewer said, it won't be used as a reason to deny parole. If anything, your direct payments to the courts could be misinterpreted as sparing him the responsibility, even temporarily, and thus making his sentence easier.

During the interview, inmates are questioned to get a sense of the degree to which they accept full responsibility for their crimes. This includes their efforts to make restitution (responsibility to victims) and to pay down fines and costs (responsibility to the Commonwealth).

Every county court will set up a payment plan with your son as soon as he's released, and most are pretty generous with the amount due each month.

Finally, whenever a prisoner tells me what he's heard from the other prisoners, I counsel him to take it with a grain of salt. Prisoners are unhappy people; they rarely say anything positive and generally love to perpetuate the negative. Jailhouse rumors flourish.

I think it's great that you can help your son in these ways. You're protecting his credit rating, and that will be a huge value to him upon release.
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Old 02-26-2018, 10:52 AM
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Apparantly the scolding over money by the parole hearing interviewer was her normal M.O. Other inmates have shared the same experience with our son.

All along, during these past years of incarceration, when my wife and I have deposited monies onto his Commisary Account (via JPAY), the DOC has taken off 20 percent and sent back to the local county to pay on our son's FF&R.

An update on our son's parole status...
Hearing was 3 1/2 weeks ago. Local parole officer stopped by the house yesterday around noon time. We were told that it would be on a Monday through Friday, Business hours, so we were surprised when the officer came by on a Sunday at lunch time. At the end of the interview she stated that she was recommending our son for immediate parole to our house. (He is 6 months past his MIN).

His PO seems really nice and reasonable, yet by-the-book.

Our son doesn't yet know that his sister is getting married in seven months. We are relieved that he will not miss his sister's wedding, like he did her graduation.

Now waiting for things to work through the PROCESS.
It is difficult to make concrete plans. My boss just told me that I have to travel for work next week. I hope I do not miss his coming home. He put me on some paperwork to be his pick up person.
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Old 02-26-2018, 11:16 AM
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Thanks for the update!!! Good luck with everything!!!
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:23 AM
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Ward60 - usually, well most of the time a home plan will not be investigated by the field office (such as a home visit) if parole was not being seriously considered by the board. So that is very good news.

Yes, some of the hearing officers have their little tricks that they like to use during the inmates hearing to see if they can get the inmate wound up to see if they can control themselves once released. Same thing happened to me during my hearing. But I brushed it off.

When my LovedOne's field officer came to my house to check my home for his home plan he did the same thing. Stopped by unannounced on off hours without even a call to me. They do this purposely I believe to catch you off guard to see what is the normal routine at the house when they are not expected. This seems to give them a "true" feeling of the environment there and if it is suitable for the parolee.
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Old 03-02-2018, 02:47 PM
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Latest update: Our son received his green sheet yesterday with it marked "parole granted". For others needing to get an idea of timelines, here is what we have so far for our son.
Parole hearing: 1/31/2018.
Parole urine test: 2/24/2018, waiting on results.
Home plan visit by local parole office: 2/25/2018.
Received Green Sheet: 3/1/2018.
Receive Home Plan approval paperwork: waiting on paperwork but local officer said she was approving it.
When Come home: the institution parole rep said one to two weeks from 3/1/2018.
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:19 AM
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Thanks for giving us the timeline. That is helpful. And I am very glad everything worked out well for him and your family.

With my loved one it took 12 weeks for his green sheet to come back with "Parole Granted" but his home plan was approved just two weeks from his hearing date. So far 10 more weeks we had to wait for the official word he was getting paroled. Then with the green sheet we found out he had to go to a halfway house first. Urgh!! We were told it could be that he may have to stay there for up to 90 days. Ended up only being 30 days but I only got one day notice; was fine with me. Ran right down there and got him and brought him home.
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