Parole is a privilege for prisoners who prove capable of reintegrating into society. And, the parole decision-making process centers on a prisoner’s parole guideline score indicating a prisoner’s probability of parole.

A prisoner’s score gives them a high, medium or low probability of parole. The complicating factor is that a high probability score doesn’t guarantee a prisoner’s right to be paroled, and a low probability doesn’t prohibit a prisoner from parole.

Also complicating the situation is that most prisoners weren’t aware that these factors influence their parole probability when going into prison, and some still don’t even know what factors contribute to their parole number.

Whether a prisoner is aware of the system or not, the task of the Parole Board is unchanged – consider all eight factors before making their final decision. Each section features a point system that’s totaled and reviewed against the Criminal Record Grid to determine the probability of parole. Those sections include:

  1. Active Sentence- Based on the Investigator’s Description of the Offense, a prisoner receives negative points based on the severity of their offense(s).
  2. Prior Criminal Record- The Parole Board analyzes a prisoner’s prior record and gives points based on the severity of prior offenses, including juvenile records.
  3. Prison Conduct Section- Major misconducts and security classification increases factor into the parole decision. Assault, sexual assault, riot or homicide misconducts bear heavy weight, and the board also considers when they occurred.
  4. Statistical Risk- After completing a review of a prisoner’s statistical risk variables and inputting them into a table, it is determined whether a prisoner is a short term, medium term or long term statistical risk.
  5. Age- Age is not taken into consideration for prisoners in the short term age grid. However, it is a factor in the medium and long term age grids. Prisoners 28 years and older receive positive points and under 28 years old receive negative points.
  6. Programming Performance- Prisoners receive points based on their completion of recommended and approved programming. Prisoners receive positive or negative points for adequate or inadequate grades.
  7. Mental Health- Some of the harshest scoring is for prisoners with a history of sexual offenses related to compulsive, deviant or psychotic mental states.
  8. Housing- Simply put, a prisoner housed in Level V with Level V management points is docked -20 points. Not housed at that level, no points.

The scores from the eight factors are added up to figure out the probability of being paroled.

A prisoner with a high probability of parole has a score that is +3 or higher. A score between +2 and -12 has an average probability of parole and -13 and lower is a low probability of parole. A prisoner with a score of -13 or lower is also not guaranteed a spot in front of the Parole Board.
For more information about the parole guidelines and to find the official scoring policy document, visit here.