The Board of Parole is an independent body and the sole entity that considers and determines parole eligibility, sets conditions of release, and revokes parole when the conditions are violated.
Parole is discretionary release from prison that enables the former offender to serve the remainder of their sentence in the community as long as the terms of conditions set by the New York State Board of Parole are met.
Making Release Determinations
The Parole Board determines which incarcerated individuals serving indeterminate sentences in state prison may be released to community supervision. Executive Law (Section 259-i (2) (a)) requires the Parole Board to personally interview incarcerated individuals eligible for release.
The Parole Board panel, generally comprised of 2 or 3 members, reviews the incarcerated individual's file, letters in support of or opposition to release, and recommendations from district attorneys, sentencing courts, and defense attorneys who represented them at the time of the offense to determine release.
Incarcerated individuals do not have the right to counsel at release interviews.
Conditions of Release
The Board sets conditions of release for incarcerated individuals released to community supervision.
The Board also sets release conditions for those "conditionally released" to community supervision by statute who have earned time off the maximum sentence for good behavior.
Sentencing reforms enacted in 1995 and 1998 change sentences for violent felony offenders. Violent offenders now receive determinate prison sentences, which are definite terms that are not subject to review by the Parole Board. For example, a sentence of six years is determinate because the individual will spend no more than six years incarcerated (minus time off for good behavior, in certain instances). Individuals with determinate sentences are released to Community Supervision without appearing before the Parole Board for release consideration, but the Parole Board still imposes conditions of release for them. Once the individual is rendered, the Parole Officer may also set conditions.
Under Executive Law (Section 259-i (3) (f) (x)), the Parole Board has the authority to revoke community supervision when it determines a releasee has violated the conditions of release in an important respect.
Parole Board action may result in returning the individual to state prison or imposing other appropriate sanctions. In some cases, Parole Board action has been delegated to Administrative Hearing Officers, which under the authority of the Parole Board, adjudicates due process violations.