Parole Consulting Attorneys in Michigan
So, your loved one is approaching his or her “earliest release date” (ERD) and will be going before the Michigan Parole Board to find out if they’ll be released from prison. Is there anything they can do to increase their chances of being paroled? The short answer is yes. Recent statistics from the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) show that roughly 60% of inmates are granted parole after their first hearing. That means that about 40%—or 4 in 10—are not. By taking proactive steps, an inmate can improve their odds of being part of the 60% and not the 40%. Parole is considered a privilege, not a right. You need to show that you’ve earned it. Our post-conviction attorneys can help your possible early release date with our experienced parole consulting in Michigan.
First, let’s get an overview of the parole process in Michigan. About three to six months before the ERD, a staff member from the MDOC will conduct an evaluation called a Parole Eligibility Report (PER). The PER must contain, among other things, information related to the offense the inmate is serving on, their prior criminal record, their history of misconduct, and their plans for parole. As part of preparing the PER, a staff member with the MDOC will interview them. Having a favorable PER is essential to increasing the likelihood of being paroled.
Another important component of a parole decision is the Parole Eligibility Guidelines. These guidelines bear some resemblance to the sentencing guidelines that were used at the time of the inmate’s sentencing. They take into account many of the same factors documented in the PER, such as the circumstances of the offense, prior criminal record, and history of misconducts. These guidelines are then “scored” to give one of three parole “probabilities”: low, average, or high. If your parole probability is high, the Board will need “substantial and compelling reasons” to deny you parole. Similarly, if your parole probability is low, the Board will need substantial and compelling reasons to grant you parole.
The MDOC can also consider a variety of risk assessment instruments to assess the inmate’s suitability for parole. These include your Transition Accountability Plan (TAP), the COMPAS, and the VASOR.
The final piece of the puzzle is the parole interview. Ordinarily, the inmate will be interviewed by one member of the Board by video. They are permitted to have one representative with them, which will often be a family member. The interview is informal and non-adversarial.
After that, the inmate will receive notice of the Board’s decision. In general, decisions are made by a panel of three members of the Board.
Again, this is a general overview of the parole process in Michigan. This process can vary depending on the circumstances of each case. For instance, lifers and inmates convicted of sex crimes face additional obstacles.
What You Can Do to Increase Your Chances of Being Paroled
There are many steps that an inmate can take to increase their chances of being paroled. First, to state the obvious, stay out of trouble. With every misconduct, you decrease your chances of being paroled. Complete your RGC recommendations. Participate in available programming. Take advantage of work and school opportunities. Have a plan for what you’re going to do once you’re released and how you’ll make sure that you don’t return to prison. A knowledgeable parole consultant can advise the inmate and their family on precisely what steps they need to take to increase the chances that parole will be granted.
After the Decision
If you’re denied parole, that’s essentially the end of the road at this point. The inmate has no right to appeal an adverse parole decision. Ordinarily, though, the Board will need to reconsider them for parole within 24 months.
If you can’t appeal a denial of parole that means no one else can appeal a grant of parole, right? Although that would only seem fair, unfortunately it’s wrong. Under Michigan law, either the prosecutor or the victim can appeal the grant of parole to the circuit court. Although it’s not necessarily common for prosecutors to appeal a grant of parole, it’s not necessarily uncommon either. In our experience, certain prosecutor’s offices take a more active stance in opposing parole than others. If the prosecutor or the victim appeals a grant of parole, you’ll need an experienced parole attorney to fight for your loved one’s freedom.
Contact Us Right Away
If your loved one needs to get ready for parole, contact us online or call us at our 24/7 defense hotline at 1-800-342-7896.