Board of Parole
The Board of Parole consists of 12 members. Each member is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for a six-year term. One member is designated by the Governor to serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Division. The primary functions and powers of the Board are:
- Making Release Determinations:The Board determines which inmates serving indeterminate sentences in state prison may be released on Parole. The Executive Law (Section 259-i (2) (a)) requires the Board to personally interview inmates eligible for release. Inmates do not have the right to counsel at release interviews. The typical panel consists of two or three board members who are responsible for:
- Interviewing the inmate;
- Reviewing summary reports prepared by facility parole officers; and
- Determining whether the inmate will be released to parole supervision.
- Making Release Determinations: The Board sets conditions of release for inmates released on parole. In addition, it sets release conditions for inmates "conditionally released" to supervision by statute. These inmates earned time off their maximum sentence for good behavior. Sentencing reforms enacted in 1995 and 1998 change sentences for violent felony offenders. Violent offenders now receive determinant prison sentences and are released to parole supervision without appearing before the Board for release consideration. However, the Board still imposes conditions of release for these offenders.
- Revoking Parole: Under Executive Law (Section 259-i (3) (f) (x)), the Board has the authority to revoke parole when it determines a releasee has violated the conditions of release "in an important respect." Board action may return the individual to State prison or impose other appropriate sanctions. In some cases, Board action has been delegated to Administrative Hearing Officers. Under the authority of the Board, the Division adjudicates due process violations.
All decisions of Board panels and Administrative Hearing Officers may be appealed. These appeals are made directly to the Parole Board. Also, the Board, at the Governor's request, interviews clemency applicants and makes recommendations to the Governor. The Board delegates its statutory authority to investigate requests to the Division's Executive Clemency Unit.