Matters Considered in Parole Review

According to §6135(a) of the Parole Code, the Parole Board shall consider the following factors when a person is eligible for parole:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense committed
  • Any recommendations made by the trial judge and prosecuting attorney
  • General character and background of the inmate
  • Participation by an inmate sentenced after February 19, 1999, and who is serving a sentence for a crime of violence as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9714(g) (relating to sentences for 2nd and subsequent offenses) in a victim impact education program offered by the DOC
  • Written or personal statement of the testimony of the victim or the victim's family submitted under section 6140 (relating to victim statements, testimony and participation in hearing)
  • Sentencing Hearing Testimony Notes, if any, plus additional information about the nature and circumstances of the offense committed for which sentence was imposed as may be available
  • Person’s conduct while in prison, physical, mental and behavioral condition and history, history of family violence and complete criminal record

There are four types of Parole Cases: 

  • Group 1 – Majority Vote Offenses 
    • The majority of the Parole Board Members must vote YES for the person to be paroled. Typically, these cases take longer to process Board Actions because of the individual reviews that must be done by multiple Decision Makers to reach a majority of positive votes to parole.
  • Group 2 – Panel Offenses
    • Individuals need two YES votes from a panel of Parole Board Decision Makers. A Panel consists of either two Board Members or one Board Member and one Hearing Examiner, empowered to make parole release decisions and recommitment decisions.
  • Group 3 – Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive (RRRI)
    • RRRI-eligible inmates may be paroled if they receive a YES vote from a Hearing Examiner.
  • Group 4 – Short Sentence Parole (SSP)
    • SSP-eligible inmates may be paroled if they receive a YES vote from a Hearing Examiner.