How to write a letter to the parole board

writing tablet of paper with pen image by Joann Cooper from

A parole board has the authority to conditionally release an inmate before his maximum prison sentence ends. The parole board investigates whether the inmate deserves to be paroled, weighing several factors in making its determination. In addition to interviewing the inmate, the parole board members also review letters from the inmate's family and friends, who may offer insight as to whether parole should be granted or denied. If you are asked to write a letter to the parole board on behalf of an inmate, be sure to mail it at least four weeks before the parole hearing.

Address the letter to "Members of the Parole Board." If the board has a designated chairman, include the chairman's name in the salutation.

Introduce yourself in the first paragraph. State your name and declare that your purpose in writing is to express your support of the inmate who is up for parole. Explain how you are related to, or know, the inmate, and for how long you have known or had a relationship with the inmate. Conclude the paragraph by asking that parole be granted to the inmate.

Explain why you believe parole should be granted to the inmate in the second paragraph. Include specific examples of the inmate's statements or actions that acknowledge his responsibility and remorse for the crimes he has committed. Highlight any positive growth the inmate has experienced while being incarcerated, such as obtaining an educational degree or participating in rehabilitative programs offered by the correctional facility. If the inmate has behaved well and has not been disciplined while in prison, indicate such.

Describe,in the third paragraph, how you are prepared to support the inmate should parole be granted. Support is not limited to financial, residential or occupational assistance, but also includes social and emotional help. Stress your commitment to helping the inmate to being a productive, thriving, and law-abiding member of society.

Thank the members of the parole board for considering your request in the final paragraph and sign the letter. Provide your name, address and phone number in the event a member of the parole board would like to contact you.

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