When a prisoner is up for parole consideration, emotions can run high. Emotions can run anywhere from feeling excited, hopeful, scared, intimidated, and anxious. Being honest with yourself and the interviewer, remorseful, prepared and insightful will provide the best chance for a favorable outcome.
Michigan’s Parole Process
Three-member panels of the parole board review parole cases once prisoners have served their minimum sentence. They review all the facts and circumstances around a case including the nature of the current offense, criminal history, prison behavior, program performance, age, parole guidelines score, risk as determined by various validated assessment instruments and information obtained during the prisoner’s interview.
One of the three panel members conducts the prisoner’s interview. The panel member takes detailed notes which are reviewed and considered by the other panel partners during the decision-making process.
The panel also uses a “risk instrument” called parole guidelines in attempt to apply an objective criteria to the decision-making process. The guidelines are intended to reduce disparity in parole decisions and increase the parole decision-making efficiency.
Good Behavior & Classification
Good behavior both before and after parole consideration is weighted heavily in parole guideline scoring system and ultimately the parole panel’s decision process. Each change of security classification or incident of misconduct can certainly have an adverse effect on a prisoner’s chance of parole, even if it occurs early in their prison time.
Once a prisoner has received their assigned security classification level, it can be difficult to change. The Security Classification Committee sets a prisoner’s security classification level. The Warden appoints the committee, which includes at least two command staff supervisors at level 13 or above, one of whom must be of the rank of Assistant Deputy Warden or above. The committee also includes staff representative of custody, programs, and housing, and a qualified mental health professional, if the prisoner has a history of mental illness.
The committee classifies prisoners every 12 months unless there are circumstances calling for earlier evaluation; including being up for parole. The reevaluation includes the prisoner’s escape history, sentences, time served, and the prisoner’s behavior in jail – affirming the importance of good behavior in prison.