Inmates who are serving a felony sentence in Georgia are considered for parole at the time of their Parole Eligibility Date, which passes once they have served one-third of their prison sentence. Parole consideration is automatic and can occur even if an inmate’s case is currently being heard on appeal.
However, some individuals are not eligible for parole, including:
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has the power to grant pardons, paroles, and other forms of clemency in Georgia - including commuting death sentences and life without parole. The Board comprises five members, who have voting power and discretion to release individuals from incarceration at the time of their PED.
When determining whether or not an individual should be released from prison on parole, the Parole Board uses the Parole Decision Guidelines. The Guidelines makes recommendations that weigh factors such as the severity of the crime committed, the individual’s criminal history, and the likelihood of recidivism.
At a hearing, the Parole Board will consider all of these factors and determine a release date, or Tentative Parole Month. A TMP is not a final decision, however. The Board of Pardons and Parole will then complete its review of a case and decide whether or not to set a release date during the TMP.
Individuals serving felony sentences in Georgia can appeal a parole decision, but only under specific circumstances. An individual may request for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider its decision to deny parole. However, the Board will only reconsider is there if new evidence for the Board members to review.
Individuals may also appeal a parole decision if they believe that there was an error in the Board’s calculations using the Guidelines. For example, the Board may make an error in weighing the severity of a crime, or in the individual’s likelihood to re-offend once released.
You do not need to hire an attorney to represent you at a parole hearing; however, having an attorney advocating for you can help you present the facts of your case in the best light possible. In addition, an attorney may also be able to help appeal a denial by the Board and ensure that your file contains accurate information.
At The Bullard Firm, we help clients challenge parole board decisions as well as convictions on appeal. If you were denied parole, or are ineligible for a parole hearing, contact our law firm. Together, we can look at the facts of your case and determine whether or not parole was improperly denied, or if your case should be appealed to a higher court.