#116 Prison Talk and Parole Boards (retro)

April 1, 2010 at 2:36 am Leave a comment

Prison Talking: Influencing Parole Boards

I had not originally expected to write again today, and with Davidson just barely losing to Kansas on the NCAA Tournament, I have some free time.

I say this to you and I don’t take this lightly…I appreciate your comments and emails and requests about my books. I think it is most important that as a writer there is an audience. When I don’t have that, then I might as well be talking to the wall.

I got a few more emails today, some letting me know that they are going to keep an eye on my blogs, one from a reader that I mentioned before about pen pals. I sincerely send her my best, and want to remind her that a prison pen pal relationship can sometimes be rocky because there are two completely different points of life, but if you hang in there, as you have been, you may find that you are being a point of light…and life, to a guy that really needs you.

Before I get to the issue about parole boards, as based from another reader, I wanted to answer a questions a person asked me. How was I able to survive prison without becoming suicidal?

Well, I almost didn’t.

Before I removed over 500 blogs from my sites, there were several where I talked about how I DID actually attempt suicide more than once while in county jail. By all rights, I should be dead.

But I am not.

I won’t get into those details on this blog, maybe something I can share with you on another blog, but to answer that question, I made it through because something deep inside of me encouraged me to not give up. If you want, I can get really spiritual on you, because I think ultimately it is why I lived through it and have been writing on prison issues the last several years.

But again, that is another blog, if you wish to hear about that.

A reader emailed was wondering about a loved one who got sent back to prison, but at the moment she does not know how much time he will get. She wanted to know if a letter could help the parole board.

On the grandest of scales, yes it can. WILL IT, that is all up to what is presented.

The X factors of a parole violation is how the person violated the parole, what charges he had prior and his past. I know a little bit about some of this, because in a similar way I came out in 2001 with a 3 year probation…not EXACTLY like parole, but in a general term, about the same.

If you have a loved one who is in parole violation, first find out if the time given can be altered. For example, if a guy knows that he can get 5 years for breaking parole, then that is likely what he is going to get, unless there are some very strange circumstances.

See folks, breaking parole is not just an “on or off” situation, many times there are gray areas where a good judge can look at the situation and see where even though the person broke parole, the situations around it might suggest that he isn’t as guilty as it might seem. Now if he broke it with malice, then the judge would have no problem “throwing the book” at the person.

But if you are in that “gray” area, it IS possible that a well written parole letter can help offset some of the time given. So how would you do it?

Well, I can’t say how YOU would do it, but let me think on how I would do it.

First, I would get in touch with my lawyer…if he is court appointed then good luck, I have come to believe that court appointed lawyers really don’t give a damn about their clients because they don’t have money.

(fair trial, huh?)

But if you can get a decent lawyer, talk to him about drafting a strong parole letter. To me, I would write the letter NOT to try to talk the board from giving time, NOR would I write it with a lot of “teary stories”. Hey, I used to write a lot of fiction, and I know a story from a truth…so would the board.

I think you have to go in with the idea that you are looking to decrease time. If it is 5 years he is looking at, see if you can get half. But to do that, you have to convince the board that the guy you are defending has POTENTIAL to society. He has to have accomplishments that proved that he was trying to do right, even though he broke parole.

Example. Was he going to a community college to be accredited to a profession? Does he attend church, and what responsibilities did he have there? What job or jobs did he have? Did he do anything for the community, or belong to any social groups? Does he have a family and how has he supported that family?

There are numerous things you can write in your parole letter, all keyed around the idea of building up a strong character for that person. Remember, you are trying to prove to the board that this guy that is going to do more time has tried to do good things while he had his freedom.

If you have such credits to add to this letter, it also helps to get some signatures as well. If your local pastor can say some good things about him, or some people of note, it brings some credibility to your request. Why is this important? Because the idea of parole is giving a person a second chance based on the idea that he MIGHT be productive to society. If that trust is broken, there has to be some attempt to repair that trust by showing the potential of that person. It does not always work, but let’s face it, it is far better than just letting the parole board assume the worst.

And this is what you are trying to offset, the assumption of the worst.

A parole letter, properly written, can indeed influence the parole board that the person who is at fault may still have to do some time, but may gain some mercy from those people if they believe that he can still be productive if spared some time.

It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

Anyway, I hope that helps the reader. Feel free to ask me about my books, cards and such, and email me if you wish at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com.

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Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#115 Cleaning Prison bathrooms (retro) #117 Prison communication pt 1 (retro)

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