Texas Parole Points System

Submitted to PTO by: Becky

March 6, 2003

 

 

Understanding new parole point system:

A step-by-step guide for offenders

 

     In a secured boardroom, hidden from the eyes of the public, decisions were made privately that affected offenders, their families, and their victims. This was the old parole system.

     Since Sept. 1, offenders have a new system that assists board members in making better decisions. Parole now is determined, in part, by an objective “point system”.

     Depending on the offender’s score and the nature of the offense of commitment, he or she can approximate the chance of being granted or denied parole.

     The point system is broken down into two parts. The first section is referred to as Static Items, or things in offender’s personal histories that do not change: age at the time of their first incarceration, type of offense, etc. The second section is referred to as Dynamic Factors, or things offenders can change: gang affiliation, education, etc. Offenders will be given a score based upon the criteria that has, or has not been met, which can be good or bad depending on the question.

     The point system is laid out like this:

 

                         STATIC ITEMS

 

Age at first commitment to a juvenile or adult correction facility

 

26 or older                   0

 

18 to 25                       1

 

17 or under                  2

 

History of supervisory release revocations

 

No probation,

parole or

mandatory

supervision                  0

 

One revocation           1

 

More then one

revocation                   3

 

Prior incarcerations (adult or juvenile)

 

None                            0

 

1 or 2                           1

 

3 or more                    2

 

Employment or educational history

 

At least 6 months of

Continuous full-time

employment or school

attendance two years

before incarceration   

                                    0

 

Less than six months

of continuous full-time

employment or school

attendance two years

before incarceration

                                    1

 

 

                    DYNAMIC FACTORS

 

Inmate’s current age

 

Under 25                     3

 

25-34                                                      2

 

35-44                                                      1

 

45 or over                    0

 

Active prison gang membership

 

Yes                              2

 

No                                0

 

Completed GED or high school diploma

Since incarceration or any time before

 

No                                2

 

Yes                              0

 

Disciplinary Conduct

 

Has not lost good time

or bonus time in the

last 18 months

                                    0

 

Has been demoted

below entry status or

lost good/bonus time

in the last 18 months

                                    2

Zero balance of

good time on

record

                                    3

 

Current custody level

 

Minimum out               0

 

Minimum in                  1

 

Medium, close

custody or ad seg       2

 

 A score of 0 to 5 makes an offender a low risk prospect for release.

 

 A score of 6 to 8 makes an offender a medium risk prospect for parole.

 

 A score of 9 to 11 makes an offender a high-risk prospect for parole.

 

 A score of 12 or better makes an offender a very high-risk prospect

 (See chart A)

 

For example, an offender is incarcerated 12 years on a 15-year sentence for an aggravated robbery. He was incarcerated at age 18. He has never been in trouble prior to the charge; he is not a gang member or troublemaker, and he is minimum-in custody level. Before his incarceration he had dropped out of school but has since obtained his GED and a college diploma..

 

His score would be tallied as follows:

 

·                     1 point for commiting the offense at 18

 

·                     0 points for never having been on parole

 

·                     0 points for no previous incarcerations

 

·                     1 point for dropping out and not having a steady job before incarcertation

 

·                     0 points for not committing one of the before-mentioned offenses

 

·                     2 points for being 30 years old

 

·                     0 points for having no gang affiliation

 

·                     0 points for earning a GED

 

·                     0 points for having no recent major disciplinary cases

 

·                     1 point for being minimum-in status

 

He would have a total of (5) points, making his risk assessment low.

     Finally, after these factors have been tallied, the points totaled, and the risk assessment determined, the nature of the offense is considered in what is called The Parole Guidelines Score. Every on of the 1,931 felony offenses in the Criminal Code has been assigned a severity rating. The low range consist of non-violent crimes such as credit card abuse. The highest class is for capital murder and “3G” offenses.

 

Taking all these factors into consideration, the parole board then uses a chart (see chart B) to determine the probability of giving parole. Parole Guidelines Scores range from 1, for an individual with the poorest probability, to 7, for an inmate with the best probability.

     However, these guidelines are not automatic. Board members still retain the discretion to vote outside the guidelines when the circumstances of an individual case merit it.

     The new parole guidelines provide a more objective system to assist board members in making release decisions. Offenders should focus on the dynamic factors such as gang membership, educational achievement, disciplinary conduct, and custody level—the things which every offender has control over. Also, offenders should remember that failure or refusal to participate in programs listed on their individual treatment plan (ITP) could adversely affect release. Offenders may contact the unit ITP coordinator for related information.

 

 

CHART A

RISK LEVEL SCORE

 

Assigned Risk Level                 Points

 

LOW RISK                                    0-5

 

MODERATE RISK                       6-8

 

HIGH RISK                                   9-11

 

HIGHEST RISK                           12 +

 

 

CHART B

RISK LEVEL

 

Offense                Highest          High                Moderate       Low

Severity               Risk                Risk                Risk                Risk

 

Highest                1                      2                      2                      3

 

High                      2                      3                      4                      4

 

Moderate             2                      4                      5                      6

 

Low                       3                      4                      6                      7