Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 23, 2011

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Parole laws and parole procedures vary by state. As a general rule, before a parole can become effective, you must meet your state’s requirements for parole eligibility, receive approval from the parole board, and receive a certificate of parole. The rules regarding parole are usually set out in your state’s criminal laws and a parole board’s administrative rules. After you have received and signed your parole certificate, your parole is then effective.

Obtaining Your Effective Parole Date

The first step in getting to your effective parole date is to meet your state’s parole eligibility requirements. Your parole eligibility date is different from your effective parole date. Eligibility means that you have met the general requirements. For example, some states require that you serve a certain percentage of your sentence after your conviction before you become eligible for parole. Even though you are eligible for parole because you have served the required amount of time, the parole board can still deny your request if they have concerns about releasing you on parole.

Developing a Release Plan

The next step to reach your effective parole date is getting approval from the parole board. Before a parole board approves a release, they will want you to work with a parole officer to develop a release plan. The plan is designed to make sure that you have a good chance of re-entry into your community as a parolee. It will include things like where you intend to live and family members that are able to help you.

If you have issues such as drug addiction, your plan may include a stay at a half-way house to provide you counseling and support for your addiction issues. After the board receives the plan and approves your eligibility, they will usually do a final scan of your file for any notices of protest. Protests usually come from victims or family members of victims that were harmed by your prior actions. Before the parole board makes a final decision, they can impose conditions and restrictions on your release. Parole restrictions can limit where you live and forbid contact with the original victim.

Certificate of Release on Parole

After the board approves your parole and any specialized parole conditions, they will issue a certificate of release. A copy of the release, restrictions, and conditions are usually sent to the law enforcement agencies where you intend to reside. Your parole will be effective once you sign the release and accept the conditions of parole. Your parole will remain in effect as long as you comply with all the conditions of your parole.