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April 30, 2010

Tennessee Parole Hearings

Tennessee Code Annotated 40-28-105 establishes the procedures relating to Parole Hearings in Tennessee. Pursuant to such statute, parole hearings are held in jails, department of correction facilities, and other locations within the state where eligible offenders come under the review of the Board of Probation and Parole. Parole Members preside over hearings or may designate hearing officers to conduct such hearings. At such hearings, parole board members or designated hearing officers take testimony and make proposed findings of fact and recommendations to the board regarding a grant, denial, revocation or rescission of parole. The findings and recommendations are reviewed by parole board members who adopt, modify, or reject the recommendations. The grant of parole requires the concurrence of 3 members in many cases, but in the most serious offenses under 40-28-105(d)(4), four votes are required.

In making a parole hearing recommendation, Hearing Officers review the offender’s parole hearing file, institutional file, and other relevant materials. Such information may include:
• The circumstances of the offense for which the inmate is incarcerated
• Recommendations and statements from institutional staff, family members, and other members of the community, either in support or opposition
• Testimony of interested persons in support or opposition
• The proposed release plan and other information provided by the inmate
• The testimony of the inmate as to how he or she will succeed under parole supervision
• Social and criminal history
• Prior supervision history in the criminal justice system
• Institutional record of the inmate and program participation
• Evidence and testimony relating to parole revocations
• Other information deemed relevant
• Risk assessment advisory instruments
Appeals of parole hearing decisions are governed by Tennessee Code Annotated 40-28-105(d)(11). Appellate Review may be granted if significant new information that was not available at the time of the hearing is discovered, alleged misconduct by the hearing official, or a significant procedural error is made by the hearing official. Appeals must be submitted no less than 45 days from the date the offender receives notification of the parole board’s final decision.
Attorneys are not provided to inmates at parole hearings, but can be retained by and offender and can appear with the offender at the parole hearing. An attorney with experience handling parole hearings can be very instrumental in presenting information to the parole members and/or hearing officers and can help to ensure that the offender presents himself or herself in the very best way possible. Raybin & Weissman represent offenders at parole hearings throughout the State of Tennessee. If you have a friend or family member that may need representation at a parole hearing, contact David Raybin or Vince Wyatt at (615) 256-6666.