In general, an inmate can come up for parole in Alabama after they have served one-third of their sentence or ten years, whichever is less. In that event, it takes two of the three members of the Board voting to grant parole in order for parole to be granted. However, the rules of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles allow for an earlier parole if all three members of the Board vote to grant parole.
In addition, Article One, Section 7 of the Rules of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles provides the following:
7. If an inmate is receiving correctional incentive time, as indicated by the Department of Corrections, on his/her controlling sentence, initial parole consideration shall be scheduled as follows:
(a) for terms of five years or less, inmates shall be scheduled for initial parole consideration on the current docket;
(b) for terms over five to ten years, inmates shall be scheduled for initial parole consideration approximately twelve months prior to the minimum release date;
(c) for terms of more than ten years and up to fifteen years, inmates shall be scheduled for initial parole consideration approximately twenty-four months prior to the minimum release date;
(d) for total terms in excess of fifteen years, inmates shall be scheduled for initial parole consideration approximately thirty-six months prior to the minimum release date.
For inmate convicted of certain Class A felonies, the initial parole consideration date is after the inmate has served eighty-five (85) per cent of his or her total sentence or fifteen (15) years, whichever is less. In certain circumstances, there may be mitigating circumstances that would allow for earlier consideration. The particular Class A felonies that are included in the “85% rule” are as follows: Rape I, Kidnapping I, Murder, Attempted Murder, Sodomy I, and Sexual Torture; Robbery I with serious physical injury, Burglary I with serious physical injury, and Arson I with serious physical injury. Serious physical injury is defined as it is in § 13A-1-2(14) of the Alabama Criminal Code.
Parole on Split Sentences
If the inmate is serving a split sentence, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles does not have jurisdiction over the inmate. Therefore, there is no parole for those serving a split sentence.
Parole on a Life Sentence
A prisoner serving a life sentence can come up for parole “consideration” after serving 10 years or one-third of the inmate’s remaining life expectancy, whichever comes first. Parole can be granted in less time if ALL THREE parole board members sign for parole to be granted.
Parole Considerations for Class A Felony Convictions
A sentence on a Class A felony can range from ten years to Life, or, if a deadly weapon is used in commission of the crime, from twenty years to Life. A prisoner serving a sentence on a Class A felony cannot earn Incentive Good Time, even if the sentence is only ten years.
Parole Considerations for Class B Felony Convictions
The sentence on a Class B felony can range from two years to twenty-years, If a deadly weapon is used in commission of the crime, the range is from ten years to twenty years. Prisoners are automatically eligible to receive Incentive Good Time on any sentence up to fifteen years, which decreases their actual number of years to serve before reaching their End of Sentence date, and also means that they reach the ‘one-third’ of their sentence sooner.
Considerations for Class C Felony Convictions
The sentence can range from one year and one day to ten years, OR, if a deadly weapon is used in commission of the crime, then no less than ten years. Prisoners are automatically eligible to receive Incentive Good Time on any sentence up to fifteen years, which decreases their actual number of years to serve before reaching their End of Sentence date, and also means that they reach the ‘one-third’ of their sentence sooner.
Early Consideration for Parole
After an inmate has served a minimum of five (5) years, they can request a review by the Board of their progress and for consideration for early parole. This can be done only once per year. Early consideration can be granted only for good cause shown and circumstances bearing on his probability to succeed on parole, not merely because the inmate is following the rules in prison.
It is highly advisable to seek legal counsel on matters of parole. An experienced Alabama attorney can help you present the request for parole or for early consideration for parol in the best possible light. Additionally, an Alabama attorney can work with you and your family to gather the necessary helpful information and to present that information to the Board for consideration. The parole process can be tricky, and it has always been our philosophy that your chances are better for parole if you are represented.
Bradford Ladner LLP is a Birmingham Alabama law firm providing legal services, including advice and counsel on parole matters, to clients statewide. Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience assisting clients in all state and federal courts, in trials and appeal as well as post-judgment matters.
Call Bradford Ladner LLP today if you have questions regarding parole