There is a strict timeline in the preparation and submission of parole packets in the State of Texas. Many people operate under the assumption that a formal parole hearing is held for the offender, which is simply not the case. Usually, the offender is notified of an upcoming review. At that point, the offender needs to make contact with a family member or an attorney to begin the process of preparing a parole packet. Because only one out of five offenders are released after their first review, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney prepare this packet for the potential parolee. Additionally, submission of the packet must be before the cutoff for material and packet submissions, which is usually 30 days before the parole review. Once it is time for the offender’s review, his or her case file will go before a three member panel at the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole.
As previously mentioned, it is not a formal meeting but rather the file being transferred from one member’s office to another. The first-panel member reviews the file (it is rumored that a panel member usually takes no longer than 5 minutes to review the file, so a first impression with the packet is incredibly important). After the first review, it is passed down to the second-panel member. If that panel member has the same vote as the first, the release (or non-release) has been decided. It only reaches the third-panel member if the first two votes were different and a tiebreaker is necessary.
There are no hard and fast rules with parole in Texas. However, an individual can be eligible after a certain period of time served. While this is entirely unpredictable, I find the chart below can serve as a very helpful guideline. Again - with parole, nothing is guaranteed. But I think it is always better to be prepared and not need something (a parole packet)...than to need it and not have it.
If the image below is not big enough to read, you can also view it here: