The Department may assist in locating programs that may be available to provide a temporary place to live if a parolee becomes homeless, resides in an unstable living situation, or needs a more structured environment. Programs of this nature may also provide other services, such as substance abuse treatment, job development, and employment training.
The PO must approve any residence where the inmate or the parolee proposes to reside and will conduct an investigation of that residence to make sure it is a suitable place, does not violate any of the conditions of release, and will not impede the parolee's ability to successfully complete parole or the period of post-release supervision. Placement in emergency housing or a shelter is not a preferred residence program, and so, the PO will help identify possible residences with family or friends if the inmate has nowhere to live. An inmate or parolee may also be referred to programs that may be able to assist in finding housing or emergency residential services.
Upon release, unless otherwise instructed, a parolee must report in person to the bureau or reporting station listed on their release agreement with their Certificate of Release agreement within 24 hours.
The parolee's compliance with the arrival report is extremely important. If the PO who will supervise the parolee is not available at that time, a PO on duty will conduct the arrival report and make arrangements with the parolee to return to the office for the first full interview with their assigned PO.
During the arrival report, the rules of community supervision and the parolee's responsibilities under supervision will be fully explained. Special conditions will also be thoroughly discussed. It is very important that parolees completely understand their reporting requirements and overall responsibilities, and they should ask any questions they might have about these rules and conditions.
The PO will examine the release agreement, discuss the residence and programs with the parolee, establish a reporting schedule, and confirm the date and time of the next report. The PO's job is to assist the parolee with transitioning to community supervision, to monitor compliance with the conditions of release, and to ensure the safety of crime victims and the general public.
When released from a correctional facility, the parolee may experience difficulties transitioning from prison to the community. Parolees may also have trouble finding a job or a place to live. Parolees may also have difficulty reestablishing relationships with family and friends, or abstaining from the use of drugs or alcohol.
The PO's job is to counsel, refer a parolee to appropriate services, and to assist in developing positive ways of solving problems to promote the likelihood of the parolee's success under supervision. The type of assistance to be provided will depend on the needs of the parolee and the parolee's willingness to comply with the efforts of the PO.
The PO is also responsible for ensuring that individuals under community supervision are obeying the laws of society and the rules of supervision. A PO is statutorily authorized to conduct investigations, search parolees, apprehend parole absconders, and make arrests.
The conditions of supervision are rules that must be followed while under community supervision. Conditions are furnished in writing to the parolee and explained by the ORC and the PO.
Parolees should ask their ORC or PO if they have any questions about the conditions of release. Parolees are required to sign the conditions to acknowledge that they have received a copy, that they understand the conditions of release, and that they understand they are required to comply with each condition imposed.
If interpreter or translation services are required to communicate with the PO, including understanding the conditions of supervision, such services and assistance will be provided.
The general conditions of release as per Title 9 NYCRR §8003.2 are:
- I will proceed directly to the area to which I have been released and, within twenty-four (24) hours of my release, make my arrival report to the Community Supervision Office indicated on my release agreement, unless other instructions are designated on the agreement.
- I will make office and/or written reports as directed.
- I will not leave the State of New York or any other state to which I am released or transferred, or any area defined in writing by my Parole Officer without permission.
- I will permit my Parole Officer to visit me at my residence and/or place of employment and I will permit the search and inspection of my person, residence, property. I will discuss any proposed changes in my residence, employment, or program status with my Parole Officer. I understand that I have an immediate and continuing duty to notify my Parole Officer of any changes in my residence, employment, or program status when circumstances beyond my control make prior discussion impossible.
- I will reply promptly, fully, and truthfully to any inquiry of or communication by my Parole Officer or other representative of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
- I will notify my Parole Officer immediately any time I am in contact with or arrested by any law enforcement agency. I understand that I have a continuing duty to notify my Parole Officer of such contact or arrest.
- I will not be in the company of or fraternize with any person I know to have a criminal record or whom I know to have been adjudicated a Youthful Offender except for accidental encounters in public places, work, school, or in any other instance without the permission of my Parole Officer.
- I will not behave in such a manner as to violate the provisions of any law to which I am subject which provide for a penalty of imprisonment, nor will my behavior threaten the safety or well-being of myself or others.
- I will not own, possess, or purchase any shotgun, rifle, or firearm of any type without the written permission of my Parole Officer. I will not own, possess, or purchase any deadly weapon as defined in the Penal Law or any dangerous knife, dirk, razor, stiletto, or imitation pistol. In addition, I will not own, possess or purchase any instrument readily capable of causing physical injury without a satisfactory explanation for ownership, possession or purchase.
- In the event that I leave the jurisdiction of the State of New York, I hereby waive my right to resist extradition to the State of New York from any state in the Union and from any territory or country outside the United States. This waiver shall be in full force and effect until I am discharged from Parole or Conditional Release. I fully understand that I have the right under the Constitution of the United States and under law to contest any effort to extradite me from another state and return me to New York, and I freely and knowingly waive this right as a condition of my Parole or Conditional Release.
- I will not use or possess any drug paraphernalia or use or possess any controlled substance without proper medical authorization.
- Special Conditions: (as specified by the Board of Parole, Parole Officer or other authorized representative of DOCCS). I will fully comply with the instructions of my Parole Officer and obey such special additional written conditions as he or she, a member of the Board of Parole, or an authorized representative of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, may impose.
Although the general conditions of supervision apply to all parolees under community supervision, the Board of Parole or the PO may impose additional conditions that apply specifically to a parolee and their situation.
The ORC will make recommendations regarding case-specific special conditions of release for consideration by the Board of Parole and the PO prior to release.
Special conditions of release may include a curfew, a prohibition against drinking or associating with specific individuals, or a prohibition against being in a specific area. A special condition may also be imposed regarding residence requirements intended to provide for the safety of a crime victim or a vulnerable person or population. If the Board of Parole imposes a special condition, only the Board can remove it. When POs impose a special condition, they can remove it with the approval of the SPO. Special conditions, whether imposed by the Board of Parole or a PO, must be obeyed in the same manner as the general conditions of supervision.
Parolees under community supervision should be aware that any act of domestic violence will not be tolerated. POs are trained to identify, investigate and respond to incidences of domestic violence and allegations of domestic violence involving parolees.
When a parolee becomes involved in domestic violence, the PO will hold them accountable, as this behavior is both a crime and a violation of the conditions of release.
If, while under supervision, a parolee is a victim of domestic violence, the parolee should seek immediate assistance from their PO.
The Department (DOCCS) provides support, assistance and service referrals to victims and survivors of domestic violence.
Sex Offender Registry
New York State's Sex Offender Registration Act applies to individuals who committed certain sex offenses on or after January 21, 1996. It also applies to individuals who committed an offense before January 21, 1996 if that individual was still serving a sentence of probation, parole or incarceration for a specified offense when the law went into effect.
If a parolee was convicted of a registerable crime, the parolee will be instructed to sign a Sex Offender Registration Form. This form explains the parolee's responsibility to register their address with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) on an annual basis, to provide written notice of any change of address within 10 days of the change, and to comply with any other obligations under the law that pertain to the parolee.
A Court will determine the risk level under Section 168-d of the Correction Law, which controls the amount of information that can be made available about a parolee. The Court's designation also determines the length of time and how often they must register as a sex offender.
If a parolee moves to another state, they may be required to register as a sex offender in the other state. Their duties to New York State under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) continue.
If a parolee has been convicted of a registerable crime, one of the following risk levels will be assigned:
- Level 1 – Low risk of repeat offense
- Level 2 – Moderate risk of repeat offense
- Level 3 – High risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists
If the assigned risk Level is 1, confirmation of the registration is available to the public. If assigned a risk level of 2 or 3, all registration information including the address of the registrant is available to the public.
Additionally, the Court is responsible for making the determination regarding the designation of a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender, or a predicate sex offender. The Court will advise the registrant regarding how long they are required to register.
If assigned a risk Level 3 or designated a sexual predator, the registrant must personally verify their address every 90 days with the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over their place of residence.
Failure to register or verify a new address with the Registry can result in new criminal charges and a conviction of a Class E felony. A second or subsequent offense will result in a conviction for a Class D felony. Failure to register or verify may also be the basis for revoking a parolee's release status.
The Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA) applies to certain sex offender cases. A mandatory condition of release applies if the parolee is a Level 3 sex offender or was released to the community on or after February 1, 2001 and is serving one or more sentences for a specified sex offense, and the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense.
The parolee will not be allowed to live near or enter upon any school grounds or any other facilities or institutions primarily used for the care and treatment of persons under the age of 18, unless they meet certain criteria and have the written permission of their PO.
Parolees are eligible for the E-STOP condition if currently serving a sentence for a Sex Offender Registry crime and meet ONE of the following criteria:
- The victim of the offense was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense.
- They have been designated a Sex Offender Registry Level 3 sex offender.
- The Internet was used to facilitate the commission of the crime.
If imposed, the E-STOP condition will require that the parolee not use the Internet for certain purposes, such as communicating with minors or accessing pornographic material or social networking sites unless certain conditions are met. These conditions should be discussed with the PO.
Parolees are required to adhere to all requirements of their sentence (including compliance with any restitution orders and orders of protection, and the payment of fees, fines, etc.). Parolees must comply with the standard conditions of release, Parole Board imposed conditions, and conditions imposed by their PO.
Generally, parolees must obey all laws, refrain from the use of any controlled substances, and communicate with their PO in a truthful, cooperative and open manner. The PO will assist the parolee with resolving problems or treatment and service referrals, and provide support throughout the period of community supervision. Ongoing communication between the parolee and the PO is extremely important to the parolee's successful transition to the community and completion of the sentence or period of post-release supervision.
Reporting is when a parolee meets with their PO either at the assigned bureau office or at another established report location where POs meet with parolees on their caseload. Upon release to community supervision, the parolee will be required to report to their PO on a weekly basis. The frequency of the office reports will be modified over time in response to the parolee's supervision level and adjustment to supervision.
Parolees are required to make office reports throughout the period of community supervision. Failure to report as directed may result in a revocation of release and re-incarceration. It is the responsibility of the parolee to contact their PO in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances that may potentially impact the parolee's ability to report to the bureau office or other report location.
Parolees must make sure they communicate with their PO by phone to discuss any emergency circumstance and follow the instructions of their PO. It is important that parolees have available the certificate of release to supervision to ascertain the address of the bureau and contact information for the PO and Bureau Chief. If the assigned PO is not available, the parolee must speak with the PO's supervisor or the duty officer, and follow their instructions.
The PO is required to routinely visit a parolee's home to monitor compliance with the conditions of release. The PO will speak with the parolee, parolee's family members, homeowner, and head of household to see how the parolee is adjusting to the residence and the community.
If a parolee is residing at a residential treatment center, half-way house, or emergency housing location, the PO must visit the parolee and with the individuals responsible for operating and managing the facility. Home visits to residential treatment facilities will also involve contact with treatment professionals, counselors, and program intake personnel.
Home visits are unscheduled and may involve visits in the evening, at night, and on the weekends to monitor compliance with established curfews. The parolee is expected to comply with the instructions of the PO during all home visits and visits to residential facilities.
The PO will verify employment by visiting the place of work or business establishment, by telephone contact with the employer or supervisor, and by inspecting pay stubs and earnings statements. DOCCS hopes parolees have taken full advantage of educational and vocational training programs and opportunities during their period of incarceration. If able to work, parolees are expected to obtain employment as soon as possible after release, and to maintain employment.
Supervision of the parolee in the community is intended to support and encourage law abiding behavior and self-sufficiency. Obtaining and maintaining employment is one of the most important ways to successfully transition to life in the community. DOCCS can assist parolees by referring them to potential employers and employment services, and by assisting with enrollment in employment and vocational training programs.
DOCCS considers drug and alcohol testing to be an important component of the community supervision process. Testing methods are used to identify parolees with drug and alcohol problems, to refer parolees to treatment providers, and to respond to violations of the conditions of release.
Parolees may be required to comply with substance abuse testing at the time of their office reports or when the PO visits them at their residence. Drug testing allows the PO to determine whether or not the individual is using illegal or unauthorized controlled substances.
A positive test may result in a referral to substance abuse treatment or, in some cases, may constitute a violation of community supervision. The PO has the authority and an obligation to respond to the use and possession of illicit substances as required under New York State law and in accordance with Department policy and procedures.
Substance and Alcohol Abuse Referrals
If there is a substance or alcohol abuse problem, the parolee may be referred by the PO to either a residential or outpatient treatment program. If referred to a treatment provider, parolees will be assessed and, if treatment is recommended, will be admitted to either an outpatient program or a residential program.
There are a number of community-based treatment resources available for the treatment of the chemically dependent and the PO will initiate the referral and monitor the parolee's admission and participation. The parolee will likely receive a special condition to enter and complete the treatment program.
Community Supervision Monthly Fee
New York State has enacted a law (Correction Law, Section 201 ) requiring parolees to pay a monthly supervision fee. Generally, parolees are expected to pay $30 per month. POs will discuss the supervision fees with parolees, how the fee is to be paid, and in certain circumstances, where individuals may obtain a temporary or permanent waiver due to disability, financial circumstances, unemployment, or other qualifying financial hardship.
DOCCS has a number of programs and resources dedicated to addressing relapse and drug dependence. Where appropriate and consistent with the interests of public safety, DOCCS offers alternatives to incarceration and provides parolees with the opportunity to participate in Parole Diversion Programs (PDP) operated and staffed by DOCCS personnel.
Parolees are also provided the opportunity to participate in community-based treatment programs. Community-based diversions, such as outpatient, residential, detox, and day treatment services are available and may be considered by staff where deemed appropriate.
If there is a revocation of release, an alternative disposition of admission to the Willard Drug Treatment Campus (WDTC) or to a PDP is possible provided the parolee meets the program admission criteria. However, parolees demonstrating that they are unable to remain sober or remain drug free while in the community may be charged with a violation of the conditions of release and re-incarcerated if found to have violated the conditions of release in an important respect.
Length of Supervision
As a general rule, parolees will remain under community supervision until they are discharged from their sentence. If they meet certain crime and sentence criteria, parolees may be considered for merit termination or mandatory termination of sentence after one, two or three years of unrevoked supervision.
If eligible, the PO will submit the case to the Board Parole, pursuant to Executive Law 259(j) for three-year or five-year discharge consideration. Otherwise, parolees will be discharged when they have reached the maximum expiration date of their sentence or they have completed the court imposed period of post-release supervision.
Termination and Discharge
Certain parolees may qualify for a merit termination of sentence granted by DOCCS prior to the maximum expiration date of the sentence. This means that the particular sentence is terminated and the parolee will no longer be under the jurisdiction of DOCCS.
Generally, non-violent felony offenders who meet the requirements under Section 205 of the Correction Law may be eligible for a merit termination of sentence. All violent felony offenders, certain sex offenders, and those convicted of other offenses are not eligible for a merit termination of sentence.
The merit termination of sentence may be granted only when it is determined to be in the best interest of society to do so and that the parolee has made a good faith effort to comply with any restitution order and/or pay any mandatory court surcharge. The PO can answer questions and discuss the particulars of a merit termination of sentence anytime throughout their period of community supervision.
A mandatory termination of sentence must be granted by the Department when a parolee has served either two or three years of unrevoked community supervision for a felony conviction under Articles 220 or 221 of the Penal Law. Parolees serving indeterminate sentences for Class A felony drug offenses must complete three years of unrevoked supervision before this type of discharge can be granted. For all other parolees serving indeterminate sentences for Class B or less than Class B felony drug offenses, two years of unrevoked community supervision must be completed to obtain this type of discharge.
Except where a determinate sentence was imposed for a felony other than a felony defined in Article 220 or Article 221 of the New York State Penal Law, if the Board of Parole is satisfied that an absolute discharge from presumptive release, parole, conditional release, or release to a period of post-release supervision is in the best interest of society, the Board may grant discharge prior to the expiration of the full term or maximum term to any parolee who has been on unrevoked presumptive release, parole, conditional release, or release to post-release supervision for at least three consecutive years.
Discharge will not be granted unless the Board of Parole is satisfied that the parolee has made good faith efforts to comply with any order of restitution, payment of mandatory surcharges, payment of any applicable sex offender registration fee, or DNA databank fee imposed by the court.
A three-year discharge is granted by the Board of Parole and is a discretionary decision for which there is no right to an administrative appeal.
Parolees wishing to relocate to another supervision area must first seek permission from their current PO. A request must be submitted to the Community Supervision Bureau in the area in which the parolee wishes to relocate and to reside. An investigation of the proposed residence will be conducted by the receiving bureau. If the residence and program are approved, supervision will be transferred to a PO in the receiving bureau.
Parolees may travel and visit areas within the geographical boundaries of New York State without the need to obtain approval from their PO provided they are not deemed a high-risk supervision case and there are no presenting issues, concerns, or aggravating factors that require review by the PO.
Parolees are encouraged to discuss the policy on travel with their PO to ensure that they remain in compliance with the conditions of community supervision.
Short term travel will not involve reassignment to a new PO.
Out-of-state requests for travel must be approved prior to the date of departure. Out-of-state travel requires the prior permission of the PO and Senior Parole Officer, and the issuance of a written travel permit.
Parolees must request a travel permit by providing the following information:
- Why and when the parolee plans to leave.
- How they plan to travel.
- With whom they plan to travel.
- Where they plan to stay.
- When and how they plan to return.
Parolees should give the PO early notice regarding any plans to travel outside New York State so the necessary paperwork can be completed in time for the requested dates of travel.