How to write a letter for a parole board hearing

Updated March 21, 2017

When a parole boards consider a convict's suitability for parole or early release, it accepts letters from interested parties. These letters can either be written in support of the convict, such as from a family member, or in opposition to the convict's release, such as from a victim. These letters help the parole board understand the convict's personality and other circumstances that might affect the convict's likelihood to commit another crime. Although the contents of a letter will depend on the particular circumstances surrounding a conviction, they will have a similar format.

Identify the convict's prisoner ID number and the address of the receiving parole division.

Identify yourself and your relationship to the convict and how his early release will impact you, to begin the letter. For example, a spouse can discuss how the convict's gainful employment will help support their children or other family members.

Provide evidence of the support that will be available to the convict after release. Letters from employers that wish to hire the convict or family members that wish to house him will let the parole board know that the convict will possess a network that will limit the potential for recidivism.

Conclude with any other information that you feel will help the parole board make its decision. For example, you can discuss circumstances, such as a lack of employment, that caused the crime but will no longer be an issue.

Identify the convict's prisoner ID number and the address of the receiving parole division.

Identify yourself and your relationship to the convict or the victim. Discuss the circumstances surrounding the crime and how the crime impacted the lives of the victim and her family. Provide images, when appropriate, that illustrate the severity of the crime.

Discuss the factors that led to the crime and whether they will present themselves again. For example, if the convict has a criminal record of repeated or escalating crimes, you may address the fact that this record suggests he will likely continue committing crimes.

Conclude with any other information surrounding the conviction or concerns about his release. For example, victims may express concern for their well being or address the likelihood that the convict will seek revenge for his conviction.


Families writing in support of a convict's release are often able to submit a parole packet to the parole board. Aside from letters of support, parole packets can contain plans for post release employment and treatment and certificates from programs that the convict has completed while incarcerated.


Submitting a large quantity of letters for release, rather than a few well written letters, does not significantly impact the board's decision making process. There is often a deadline for submitting letters. It is important to contact your local parole board to be sure the letters will be submitted and accepted on time.

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A freelance writer since 2007, Jack Spencer focuses primarily on legal and scientific topics. He also runs a copyrighting firm specializing in small-business marketing and academic research. Spencer received his B.A. in political science from the University of California.