What happens after the hearing?
Learn how parole hearing decisions are reviewed and finalized, how victims/survivors can participate in that process, and what happens after parole decisions become final.
The decision at a parole hearing is NOT final.
If an incarcerated person is granted parole at a hearing, they will not be released immediately. All hearing decisions (whether grants or denials) undergo a lengthy review process before they become final. These “Post-Hearing Proceedings” are described below.
How do I find out the parole hearing decision in my case?
If a victim/survivor attends or participates in a hearing (either in person, or on video), they can find out the result at the hearing. Parole hearing decisions are announced on the day of the hearing after the Panel deliberates.
Note: Victims/survivors who attend the hearing have a choice whether to stay for the announcement of the decision. If they do not wish to stay for the decision, they can request that the Panel inform them of the decision prior to announcing it.
If a victim/survivor does NOT attend a hearing, and wants to know the outcome, they can:
All decisions at parole hearings are subject to review. This process includes review by the full California Board of Parole Hearings (Board) and the Governor’s Office. The full review period may take up to 150 days, but can happen faster. In some instances, victims/survivors can participate in some aspects of the review process.
About 30 days after a parole hearing, a transcript of the hearing becomes available. Victims/survivors can access instructions to request a copy of the transcript here. Electronic copies are available free of charge.
After the parole hearing decision is final and all reviews are complete:
If the person seeking parole is denied:
If an incarcerated person is denied parole, the Panel will announce the length of the denial at the time they announce their decision. The potential denial periods are 3, 5, 7, 10 or 15 years. The incarcerated person will be eligible for another parole hearing after the denial period has elapsed.
There are two ways an incarcerated person could have their hearing date “advanced” such that their next hearing would happen sooner:
Petitions to Advance (PTA): Some incarcerated people can submit a “petition to advance” their hearing, or a “PTA.” For a PTA to be granted, the incarcerated person must show there is a “reasonable likelihood” that public safety does not require additional incarceration before their next parole hearing. An incarcerated person might file a PTA if they have an extended period without disciplinary violations, or if they complete meaningful programming that contributes to their rehabilitation.
A person may file a PTA anytime after their first parole hearing. However, they can only submit a PTA once every 3 years, and they cannot submit a PTA if their prior hearing was “waived” or “postponed.”
Victims/survivors who are “registered” with the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) will be notified if a PTA is filed, and they will be able to submit a written statement. Information about how to register with OVSRS is available here.
If a PTA approved, the person’s next hearing will be advanced, and will likely be set within 4 to 6 months of the approval date. Registered victims/survivors and the district attorney in the case will be notified if a parole hearing is advanced.
Administrative Review: In cases where an incarcerated person receives a 3-year denial, and they have a “low” or “moderate” Comprehensive Risk Assessment (CRA), the Board conducts “administrative review” to consider whether to advance the person’s parole hearing. The Board will advance the hearing if it determines there is a reasonable likelihood that public safety does not require additional incarceration before the next parole hearing.
If the Board decides to advance the incarcerated person’s hearing after administrative review, the person’s next hearing will be advanced, and will likely be set within 4 to 6 months of the approval date. Typically, these hearings occur approximately 18 months after the prior hearing. Registered victims/survivors and the district attorney in the case will be notified if a parole hearing is advanced. Information about how to register with OVSRS is available here.
If the person seeking parole is released:
Most people released from prison in California are placed “on parole” or “post-release community supervision.” Some people on parole were released after being found suitable at a parole hearing. Other people on parole were simply released (without a hearing) when they reached their release date at the end of a determinate sentence.
Once released from prison, people on parole are under the supervision of the Department of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO). Each person released on parole will have a unique set of parole “conditions,” which are often related to their commitment offense and criminal history. To learn more about what kinds of parole conditions might be applied to someone, visit the DAPO website.
People who are released from prison through the parole hearing process pose an extraordinarily low risk. They have been released following intensive scrutiny by the Panel who conducted the hearing, review by the Board’s Chief Counsel and the Governor, and a decision that they no longer pose an unreasonable risk to the public. The decision may have also concluded that – due to illness, advanced age, or physical limitations – the person is not physically capable of committing acts of violence.
Many years of data show that people released from prison through the parole hearing process are an extraordinarily low risk. Less than 1% of people released go on to commit felony crimes against another person, and very few go on to commit any new misdemeanors or parole violations. The Board has never received a report of a person released through the parole hearing process retaliating against a victim/survivor. These statistics have remained consistent for many years.
These statistics may be surprising because there is general awareness of crimes committed by people “on parole.” However, almost all of those crimes are committed by people who were released on parole without a parole hearing, where there was NO determination that the person was no longer dangerous. The rate of re-offense for people released through the parole hearing process is significantly lower than the rate of re-offense for people who are released without going through that process.
Some victims/survivors may be able to ask for “special conditions” of parole for the person in their case. However, these special conditions are limited, and often only apply to direct victims. Some victims/survivors may be able to request that the incarcerated person not be allowed to live within 35 miles of them or that they not be allowed to contact them. These special conditions depend on the circumstances of the case, and must be requested using the CDCR Form 1707 “Request for Victim Services.” (El formulario 1707 está disponible en español.) Victims/survivors can:
- Complete this form online here.
- Print the form and follow the instructions on the form to submit it to OVSRS via mail, email, or fax.
- Call OVSRS toll free at 1-877-256-OVSS (6877).
Processing the fact that a person who caused harm is going to be released can be stressful, frightening, angering, or even traumatic. We encourage victims/survivors to reach out to resources/support available to them.