A first level hearing that determines whether or not there is probable cause to believe that the parolee has been charged with a new criminal offense that would constitute a violation of parole. 

This hearing is required to be held pursuant to the United States Constitution and the Parole Board’s regulations, which provide that a hearing must be held before a parolee can be detained for a violation of parole.

They are held within 30 days of the person’s detention on the Parole Board’s warrant. However, a detention hearing is not required to be held by the Parole Board if a district justice conducts a criminal preliminary hearing or the parolee waives a criminal preliminary hearing and the new charges are held for court. Also, if the parolee has already been convicted of the new criminal offense, a hearing is not required to be held.

A Hearing Examiner conducts this hearing. A Hearing Examiner is a Parole Board decision maker empowered to sit on parole revocation panels, conduct parole hearings in lieu of panels and conduct parole interviews on behalf of the Parole Board. The final decision requires a second vote from a Parole Board member.

Probable cause

At each type of hearing, individuals are given their rights verbally and in writing. Individuals have the right to:

  • Disclosure of evidence in support of the violations charged against them. 
  • Speak, have voluntary witnesses appear on their behalf and present affidavits and other evidence. 
  • Cross-examine adverse witnesses.
  • Be represented by counsel. If a person cannot afford counsel, they may request counsel from the public defender of the county in which they are incarcerated. There is no penalty for requesting counsel.
  • Request a continuance of the hearing for a good cause.

One of the following decisions will be reached:

  1. continue on parole, or
  2.  detain pending disposition of criminal charges.


The decision after a Detention Hearing CANNOT be appealed. The Parole Board regulation authorizing requests for administrative relief only applies to parole revocation decisions and recalculations based on those actions.