Individuals receiving determinate or “flat” sentences (where the sentencing court sets a maximum term of incarceration) do not appear before the Board of Parole since they have a specific date for release, but they must complete a period of post-release supervision. Certain determinately sentenced individuals may also receive merit time allowances against their sentences allowing for early release to community supervision.
Individuals receiving a indeterminate sentence (where the sentencing court establishes a minimum and maximum term of imprisonment), appear before the Board of Parole for discretionary release consideration. When granted, individuals will be subject to a period of community supervision (formerly referred to as "parole") until their sentence has been completed.
Those serving sentences for certain non-violent crimes may receive merit time allowances against their sentences provided they have achieved defined programmatic objectives, have not committed any serious disciplinary infractions, and have not filed any frivolous lawsuits. Merit time allowances enable indeterminately sentenced incarcerated individuals to appear before the Board of Parole for possible early release on parole on their merit eligibility dates.