The rules of parole in Arizona are the conditions of an inmate’s release from confinement. Violating one of these rules will lead to a parole violation hearing. Parole may be either revoked and the parolee sent back to prison, or parole may be reinstated with more stringent rules. Complying with the rules to the end of the sentence can lead to an absolute discharge.
1. What are the rules of parole in Arizona?
The rules of parole are the terms and conditions that inmates have to follow in order to spend the remainder of their sentence out of prison and on community supervision. The precise terms of release are at the discretion of the Board of Executive Clemency. They will be imposed at the parole hearing.1
This means that different parolees may have different terms and conditions to comply with. Those rules often vary depending on the parolee’s:
- criminal past,
- crime that led to the current sentence,
- potential threat to public safety, and
- behavior in prison.
Common rules of parole are similar to probation, and include:
- regular reporting with a parole or probation officer,
- not interfering with random and unannounced visits from the parole officer,
- notifying the probation officer of any planned travel, and only leaving the area with the officer’s prior approval,
- staying in the same residence, or notifying the probation officer of any changes in address,
- complying with no-contact orders or restraining orders that protect the victim of the crime and his or her family members, or that prevent the parolee from seeing known associates,
- making restitution payments to the victim,
- performing community service, also known in Arizona as community restitution,
- taking random drug or alcohol tests to make sure the parolee is staying sober and staying away from illegal drugs,
- going to counseling,
- completing substance abuse classes,
- staying at home arrest,
- making progress on court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment programs, and
- maintaining gainful employment.
Under Arizona law, parolees will be required to pay a monthly parole fee of at least $65, unless the Board determines that he or she will be unable to pay it. The fee will be paid to the parole officer.2 70 percent of this fee goes to the victim compensation and assistance fund, while the remaining 30 percent goes to the community corrections enhancement fund.3
Just like probationers, a parolee will also be forbidden from committing a new crime while out on parole.
2. What happens after full compliance?
If the Arizona parolee completes his or her sentence without violating a term of their parole, then they can apply for a Certificate of Absolute Discharge. This Certificate proves that the parolee has completed their sentence. It makes them eligible for a restoration of their rights, as well as a conviction set aside, if they are eligible.
A defense lawyer from a local law firm can help people through this final process in their sentences.
3. How long does parole last?
Parole lasts until the parolee’s prison sentence ends. Under state law, it begins when an inmate who has parole eligibility has accumulated enough earned release credits and been approved for early release from prison.4
This means that, in general, parole can be the final 15 percent of an inmate’s term of imprisonment.
If coupled with work furlough, inmates can spend a significant portion of their sentence out of prison.
If the parolee or inmate is able to get a commutation of their sentence, then their parole and sentence would end, immediately.
4. What happens if a rule of parole is violated?
If the parolee is accused of violating one of the rules of their release, he or she will often be arrested by law enforcement and held in custody until a parole revocation hearing. This hearing will be conducted by the Board of Executive Clemency or one of its commissioners. It is similar to a probation violation hearing.
If the violation is for committing a new crime, the Board or hearing officer will revoke parole and send the defendant back to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence under the eye of the Arizona Department of Corrections. The defendant will also face criminal charges in superior court for the new alleged violation of criminal law.
If the alleged violation is not for a new crime, then the Board may reinstate parole, instead. This will release the parolee back into community supervision, though often with stricter terms of release as well as electronic monitoring.5
The revocation hearing is a very important part of a defendant’s experience with the state of Arizona’s criminal justice system. Having a criminal defense attorney at this stage in the process is extremely important.
- Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 31-411(E).
- ARS 31-411(F).
- ARS 41-1064.10(D).
- ARS 31-411(D).