Laws regarding the parole work in Kentucky are set forth in the Kentucky Revised Statutes, (KRS) Chapter 439. KRS § 439.320, specifically, establishes the creation of the state Parole Board and lays out general rules for how the board shall be filled out.
The Kentucky Parole Board is made up of nine members, all of which are appointed by the Governor. The nine members of the Board all serve the state full-time. The Governor will also appoint one member as Chairman of the Parole Board. The Chairman is responsible for the organization of the Board and making sure that procedures are carried out according to all of the regulations set in KRS § 439.340.
The specific duties of the Kentucky Parole Board are listed in KRS § 439.330:
- Study the case histories of persons eligible for parole, and deliberate on that record;
- Conduct reviews and hearings on the desirability of granting parole;
- Impose upon the parolee or conditional releasee such conditions as it sees fit;
- Order the granting of parole;
- Issue warrants for persons charged with violations of parole and post-incarceration supervision and conduct hearings on such charges, subject to the provisions of KRS 439.341, 532.043, and 532.400;
- Determine the period of supervision for parolees, which period may be subject to extension or reduction after the recommendation of the cabinet is received and considered; and
- Grant final discharge to parolees
How The Kentucky Parole Process Works
The Parole Board will have the final say on whether or not anyone incarcerated within the state of Kentucky will be granted parole. Statutes and regulations, however, determine when and if a person will become eligible for parole.
Determining Eligibility For Parole In Kentucky
Under Kentucky law, those in jail or prison because of a felony conviction become eligible for parole after having served 15% of their original sentence. There are, however, two special cases that change when someone will become eligible for parole.
- Those convicted as violent offenders must serve at least 85% of their sentence.
- Convicted sex offenders must first complete a sex offender treatment program administered by the Department of Corrections.
Being eligible for parole, of course, does not guarantee that anyone will actually be granted parole.
Parole Board Meetings
For parole hearings where the inmate is present, two members of the Parole Board are all that is required for a review. For all other meetings or Parole Board business, four Board members are required.
The majority of parole hearings in Kentucky are carried out through video conferencing. There are, however, some exceptions where the Board members will travel to institutions within the state to conduct hearings face to face.
Meetings are open to the public but for security reasons, anyone who wishes to attend must make arrangements with the institutions where the hearing will be held ahead of time. The Board will announce its decision at the interview with the prisoner and record a written record of that decision. Both members of the Board present at the meeting must agree on the decision. If the two do not agree, the full Board will decide the case and a majority vote will determine the final decision.
Possible Parole Board Decisions
There are three options that the Parole Board can order when it has come to a decision.
- Serve Out – Parole is denied and the decision is final. The inmate must serve the remainder of his or her sentence.
- Deferment – Parole is denied but the Board sets a period of months or years after which the inmate will be eligible to meet with the board again for another review.
- Parole – Parole is granted and the inmate will be given a conditional release from incarceration.
When making their decision, the Board will consider a large number of factors such as the seriousness of the offense the inmate is currently being held for, prior criminal record, changes noticed while in prison, attitudes towards authority figures, prior alcohol or drug problems, prior probation history, emotional stability, mental health, general physical health, community attitudes toward releasing the inmate, and oral and written statements from victims.
Identified victims of crimes are notified of upcoming parole hearings by the Victim Services Branch of the Parole Board and such victims may submit written statements or appear in person before the Board.
When accused of parole violations, a parolee is entitled to a preliminary or probable cause hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge as well as a final Parole Revocation Hearing in with the Parole Board. Two Administrative Law Judges are employed by the Parole Board and conduct probable cause hearings throughout the state.
Contact An Experienced Kentucky Parole Attorney
If you have questions about the Kentucky Parole Board or how the parole process works in Kentucky, contact our team for the answers you’re looking for. At Baldani Law, our knowledgeable and experienced team is always behind you, working hard to make sure you get the best possible results for your case.
Contact us online anytime or call (859) 259-0727. Your initial consultation is free and confidential. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your case and discuss what we can do to help you.