Pardon and Parole Protests
The Alabama Board of Pardon and Paroles notifies victims by certified mail (with a copy to AGOVA) 30 days before an inmate convicted of a violent crime is scheduled to come up for parole or pardon consideration. AGOVA makes a written protest against early release of the defendant on behalf of the victim. In those cases where the victims choose to be present at pardon or parole hearings, AGOVA assists the victims by explaining the process and describing the environment of the hearing. At the victim's request, an AGOVA representative will also attend this meeting with them.
Guidelines for Sentencing and Parole Considerations
- A criminal offender can be up for parole "consideration" on a life sentence after serving 10 years or one-third of the inmate’s remaining life expectancy, whichever comes first.
- Parole can be granted in less time if ALL THREE parole board members sign for parole to be granted.
Class A Felony Convictions
This sentence can range from ten years to Life, or, if a deadly weapon is used in commission of the crime, from twenty years to Life.
- Inmates cannot earn Incentive Good Time on a Class A felony conviction, even if the sentence is only ten years.
Class B Felony Convictions
The sentence can range from two years to twenty-years, OR, if a deadly weapon is used in commission of the crime, the range is from ten years to twenty years.
- Inmates are automatically eligible to receive Incentive Good Time on any sentence up to fifteen years, which decreases their actual number of years to serve before reaching their End of Sentence date, and also means that they reach the ‘one-third’ of their sentence sooner.
- EXAMPLE: "John Smith" was sentenced to 12 years on September 1, 1989 for a conviction of manslaughter. He has served only 3 years, 7 months, and 20 days, but because he has already earned 1 year, 3 months, and 8 days of Incentive Good Time, he will reach his End of Sentence date on November 11, 1994. (He has a parole hearing on December 9, 1992.)
- Inmates, technically, can be paroled at any time as long as all three parole board members sign for his/her parole. When the inmate has served at least one-third of the sentence, only two signatures are required for parole to be granted.
Class C Felony Convictions
The sentence can range from one year and one day to ten years, OR, if a deadly weapon is used in commission of the crime, then no less than ten years.
- Parole guidelines are the same as with Class B Felonies.
When an inmate is paroled, he/she is under the supervision of a parole officer until the End of Sentence date, and can be restricted by the Parole Board from returning to the county(ies) where the victim and/or the victim's family resides. If the inmate serves until the End of Sentence date, he/she is "free" with no supervision and no restrictions. Therefore, in most cases, it is advantageous to the victim and society if the inmate is on parole for a while before reaching the end of sentence.
Open Public Meetings
These meetings are commonly referred to by most of us as parole hearings, and are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays beginning at 8:00 a.m. The hearings are informal and are held for one inmate at a time with his/her family, friends, lawyer, pastor, or whoever wishes to attend, sitting at the front of the room. The victim and/or victim’s family, or attendees sit at the back of the room. Those appearing on behalf of the inmate are allowed to speak first and give their reasons as to why they think the inmate should be paroled. The victims and their supporters then give their reasons why the inmate should not be paroled. The inmate or defendant will not be present during the Parole Hearing.
When a request for assistance is made from the victim and/or victim's family or anyone in the District Attorney's Office or law enforcement, an AGOVA representative attends the hearings and protests on the victim's behalf. AGOVA writes a protest letter on behalf of the Attorney General for every violent offender up for parole. The letter is then placed in the inmate’s file prior to his/her parole hearing.