“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” — Jim Rohn
If your loved one is eligible for parole it is an excellent idea to find out how you can assist in the creation of a parole packet. Many different parole packets are available. Attorneys, businesses, and entrepreneurs offer parole services but even with that being the case, parole is something you can work on together.
Your partner can probably get a parole packet from their case manager, social worker, or the prison library and we have included an example for you as well. Your role in the process can be contributing by planning.
When Will They Be Eligible?
The first thing you both should be aware of is when your partner will be eligible for parole. It sounds simple enough, but nothing in prison is simple. There are always specific criteria that must be met. And every state can be different. Sadly, the Federal system does not offer parole. A case manager is an excellent resource to write to find out the particulars of your loved ones’ sentence.
There are some general guidelines that may apply for parole. Usually, the incarcerated person will have to serve a minimal amount of time on their sentence, remain infraction-free for 12 months before a parole hearing, receive re-entry training in a lower security facility and go through counseling.
There are also education requirements states may require, such as completing a GED if they don’t have a high school diploma. You are in a position to offer support and encouragement to make sure all of the criteria is being met.
What Can You Do Together?
When the time comes, you both need to be prepared. This means that along with the parole professional that they will work with before their hearing (usually 5-6 months), you both will have gone over a few things. If you are offering them a residence, resources, love, and support, you may be the most essential piece of your partner’s home plan.
Your partner will have to document everything regarding where they will be living, and you can even expect a home visit. The attached Parole Packet will go over the details; realize that this is a vital piece of the process. This is part one of the re-entry plan, as it is often called the home.
The next part of a solid re-entry plan is to demonstrate that your partner has been seeking employment. Many incarcerated people might think it is impossible to show that they have been searching for opportunities, but it isn’t.
In our apprenticeship article, we pointed out just how important it is to reach out to potential employers and keep the correspondence. The parole board will want to see these letters, printed emails, and any planning you both have done, like checklists.
Your loved one can reach out to companies offering apprenticeships, jobs, training, and even schools of interest. All of this will show the effort that they are making. You can help in this process. It doesn’t only have to be them that are doing the writing. You, too, can write and keep your partner updated on the workforce.
Letters of Recommendation
In many cases, family, friends, staff, officers at the prison, and critical transition specialists will be willing to write letters of recommendation on behalf of your partner. It is challenging for someone incarcerated to reach out, especially when letters and notes are their primary form of contact. You can help collect these recommendations and even help present them nice and neatly in a parole packet.
One of the key components of the parole packet and message your loved one will be sharing when the time comes is “I have help.” That message should receive favor. One of the most significant ways to demonstrate that they have help is what they have accomplished and changed during their incarceration, and the network of friends and services their home partner has listed for them.
If a person has received an education, taken training classes, gone to workshops, and learned about employment, their support network has grown and helped. You can demonstrate that with a persuasive packet of your choosing. Remember, the one we have attached is just an example.
Also, keep in mind that these are suggestions. They don’t replace an attorney’s advice or by any means represent legal advice. It is just another thing you can do to help, and hopefully, this resource and your ability to search for similar resources will give you and your partner some confidence. Your help matters.
“But then it occurred to him that any progress he had made on his quest so far he had made by accepting the help that had been offered to him.” ― Neil Gaiman, Stardust