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How to write an early release letter to a judge

Updated April 04, 2017

An early release letter may be written to a judge on behalf of an incarcerated individual. This letter may be written by a family member, friend or other relation to the convicted person. This letter typically provides reasons why the author believes that the incarcerated person should be released back to society and why both this individual and the public would benefit from the release. Writing such a letter is not too difficult, as long as one follows a few basic guidelines.

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  1. Begin your letter by addressing the judge as "Honorable." Start your first paragraph by stating your relationship to the convicted individual. For example, if you are a family member, friend or former co-worker of the convicted individual, state this in the first paragraph. Then explain why you are writing the letter.

  2. State why you believe the prisoner should be considered for early release in the next paragraph. If there is more than one reason, enumerate the reasons and provide details. For example, if you believe that he should be released because he has a sick parent who needs assistance and his release would allow for such assistance, include these details in your letter.

  3. Provide any experiences you have with the incarcerated individual that you believe will assist the judge in making her determination. For example, if you know of any exemplary behaviour that the judge should be aware of, such as awards the person received, or extraordinary actions, include this information in the letter.

  4. State your opinion in the letter. Say why you believe the incarcerated individual should be released from prison early.

  5. Tip

    Contact your local courthouse to determine the correct spelling of the judge's name and to obtain the correct mailing address for your letter.


    Every jurisdiction has different laws and rules regarding early release and when one can write a letter on behalf of an incarcerated individual; check the laws of your jurisdiction. Always consult with an attorney in legal matters.

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Name of Convicted Individual
  • Name and Address of Judge

About the Author

J.S. Nogara began writing in 2000, publishing in legal texts, newspapers, newsletters and on various websites. Her credits include updating "New York Practice Guides: Negligence." She is a licensed attorney admitted to the New York State courts and the Federal Court, Southern District in New York. She has a B.S. from the University of Connecticut, a J.D. and an LL.M. degree.

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