In Pennsylvania, individuals who either plead guilty to a crime or are found guilty of a crime following a trial are often sentenced to a period of incarceration in a jail or prison. When a person is placed on parole, it means that he or she gets released from jail or prison early, and serves the remainder of their sentence among the general public. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency describes parole as “a conditional release that can occur only at the expiration of an offender’s minimum sentence or anytime thereafter but prior to the expiration of the maximum sentence.” All individuals must serve at least their minimum sentence in order to qualify for parole. Under Pennsylvania law an individual does not have a right to parole and not every sentences carries the possibility of parole. For example their is no parole for murder sentences carrying a sentence of life imprisonment. Denials of parole are not subject to judicial review unless the individual asserts a constitutional challenge to the denial of parole or files a writ of mandamus to compel the Parole Board to exercise their discretion. Those seeking parole are required to prepare for and apply for parole. Those eligible for parole will be reviewed approximately four to six months prior to reaching their minimum sentence date. Those approved will not be released prior to their minimum sentence date. A grant of parole will not result in immediate release. Numerous other factors will come into play first such as a requirement that the individual have a verifiable address to be released to which meets the Parole Board's standards and to ensure a successful re-entry to the community before actually being released. Other pre-release requirements may include a drug screen, payment of victim restitution and fines, DNA samples and/or Meghan's Law registration for some offenders.
Upon being released an individual will have to comply with a number of conditions and restrictions as a consequence of being released early from their incarceration. These conditions include meeting with Parole supervision staff within 24 hours of release and developing a supervision plan with the staff which may require drug testing and treatment, obtaining and maintaining employment and not committing additional offenses. Violation of the terms and conditions can include parole being revoked, being sent back to jail or prison to serve the remainder of the sentence along with prosecution of any new offenses.
Those interested in applying for parole or who are facing a parole violation are advised to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Craig Penglase has close to 20 years experience representing individuals being placed on parole or who have committed parole violations. He can be reached either by emailing him through this site or by calling him at 215-348-4416.