A parole rescission hearing is a hearing held before a member of the Colorado State Board of Parole to determine whether a decision to grant parole should be taken back. Even after the board grants an inmate parole, before the inmate is released, the board can rescind that decision. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is a parole rescission hearing in Colorado?
- 2. Can the board take back parole after they grant it?
- 3. Why would the board rescind the decision to grant parole?
- 4. Can my lawyer represent me during the rescission hearing?
- 5. Who else will be able to attend the rescission hearing?
- 6. Can I appeal the board’s decision to rescind parole?
After an inmate is scheduled to be paroled, the inmate’s release can still be taken away. A rescission hearing is a hearing to determine whether a scheduled release should be taken back, or “rescinded.”
Rescission is also known as “reconsideration of parole prior to release.” A rescission hearing is a hearing held before a single member of the Colorado State Parole Board. The board member considers new information to decide whether parole should be rescinded.123
Parole rescission can be confused with parole revocation. A Colorado parole revocation hearing takes place after an inmate has been released to determine if parole should be revoked and the inmate should be returned to incarceration. Rescission involves taking away parole before the inmate is released.
Rescission hearings take place at the institution where the individual is confined, or by live telecommunication procedures, at the board’s discretion. Rescission hearings are generally conducted before only one board member.4
After the rescission interview is over, the interviewing board member will make a recommendation to either rescind the inmate’s release or continue with the planned release on discretionary parole. A second board member will review the recommendation. If the second board member approves the recommendation, the decision is final.5
Yes, the board can take back the offer of parole after they have granted it. According to the board rules, parole is conditioned upon good conduct by the inmate between the date of the parole order and the effective release date.6
Additionally, the board can reconsider whether to grant parole upon receipt of new information. They can reconsider their decision for any reason. The grant of parole is not final until the inmate is released.7
The State Board of Parole can rescind an offer for any reason.8 However, there are generally four (4) reasons why the board would rescind a scheduled release, including:
- New information not previously considered by the board;
- The inmate is unable to satisfy conditions of parole;
- Conduct violations between the date of the parole order and effective release date; or
- Procedural violations in the application hearing.
Granting parole is conditioned upon good conduct.9 After the date of a parole order, the inmate has to remain on good behavior in the correctional facility. Any inmate offenses may result in penalties and rescinded release. Some of the most common inmate offenses that could cause parole to be taken away include:
- Contraband weapons
- Contraband drugs
- Disobeying direct orders
- Fights with guards
- Fights with other prisoners
According to the Colorado Department of Corrections’ Administrative Regulation AR 550-08, when significant changes have occurred since the order was granted, the department has the discretion to suspend and rescind release. “Significant changes” include:
- A warrant was filed since parole was granted.
- The offender has been charged with or convicted of a Class I or II disciplinary code violation.
- An additional felony conviction has been received, making the release date inaccurate.
- Information that the pre-parole plan in existence at the time of the board’s decision is no longer appropriate.
- Unfavorable information or circumstances, which have been received that were not available at the time the release decision was rendered.
- Offender’s refusal to sign the parole agreement, or interstate waiver of extradition.
- Offender’s denial for placement in community corrections as a condition of parole.
- Refusal to submit to a medical exam to determine the feasibility of substance abuse.10
Example: Henry was sentenced to 4 years in prison for criminal extortion. Based on his good behavior and other factors, Henry was set to be paroled in 2 weeks. However, when Henry was returned to his cell, he got into a fight and assaulted his cellmate. As a result of the fight, the board decided to rescind the decision to release Henry.
Unable to Satisfy Conditions of Parole
The board can determine the inmate’s conditions of parole. Some of these conditions may be required before the inmate is released. If the inmate is not able to satisfy the conditions before release, parole release may be suspended until he or she is able to satisfy those conditions.11
Example: Arthur was convicted of unlawful sexual contact using a date rape drug. Sexual contact through drugging the victim is a felony in Colorado, and Arthur was sentenced to 6 years in prison. After serving a portion of his sentence, Arthur was set to be paroled provided he was living in a place in compliance with his sex offender registration status.
Arthur was looking for a place to live after release but only place he could find was to live with his mother, who lived next to an elementary school. Even though Arthur was set to be released, he could not satisfy the conditions of release and his release would be suspended until he could find an appropriate place to live.
The parole board considers a lot of information when deciding whether the inmate will be paroled. Generally, the board considers this information during the application interview or during a hearing. However, in some cases, this information may not be known until after parole is granted.
The board can consider the receipt of any information not previously considered. The board can consider any new information to rescind parole for any reason. 12 This information includes:
- Victim testimony
- Statements from other victims
- Court records
- Case histories
- Personal data
- Parole plan changes
- New risk assessment guidelines
- Testimony from a parole sponsor or employer
- Threats to the victim or victim’s family
- Changes in conduct in the correctional institution
- Any other information 1314
Example: Charlie was charged with domestic violence assault and violating a protective order in Colorado. Charlie was sentenced to 4 years in prison. During his time in jail, Charlie attended anger management counseling and substance abuse treatment. Over the years, Charlie became a model inmate. Charlie was set to be paroled in a few weeks.
The victim of Charlie’s domestic violence case contacted the board after she learned he was going to be released early. The victim said friends of Charlie were calling her and coming by her house, saying Charlie would be back and she’d be sorry for ever calling the police. The board determined Charlie was contacting friends to have them threaten the victim and the victim’s family. As a result, Charlie’s release was rescinded.
There may also be procedural violations that cause the board to rescind the offer of parole. If these mistakes or errors are found before the inmate is released, parole can be rescinded. Examples could include:
- Calculating the wrong parole eligibility date (PED)
- Computer errors
- Notification errors
- Clerical errors
Your attorney may be present during a rescission hearing interview with proper clearance. However, your lawyer does not have specific legal authority during a rescission hearing. Your lawyer can only observe the hearing but cannot speak on your behalf.
Parole rescission hearings are different than revocation hearings. Lawyers can be present and advocate for their clients during parole revocation hearings.15
The rescission hearing is conducted in the same manner as the application interview.16 This means that supporters, members of the public, and victims of the crime may be able to attend an application interview.
Members of the public can only attend a rescission hearing at the facility where the offender is assigned.17 Anyone who wants to attend a rescission hearing must submit a request to the correctional facility a minimum of 10 working days before the hearing.18
Like other members of the public, friends, family, and other supporters of the inmate can also generally attend the rescission hearing. However, supporters in attendance are limited to five (5) people. If a supporter wants to speak in support of the inmate, he or she will only have an opportunity to speak if the presiding board member allows it.1920
Supporters can also send a letter of support to the offender’s case manager. Any letters improperly sent to the board will be routed to the offender’s case manager.
Victim Attendance at Hearings
Victims of the crime and individuals in support of the victim can attend a rescission hearing. Victims can attend the interview at the facility where the offender is assigned or at the location where the board member is conducting the hearing.21
Victims can also testify at a rescission hearing. The victim’s testimony may be considered as new information not previously considered in determining whether to rescind or grant parole. Other individuals can also speak on behalf of the victim, where:
- The person is a victim of any crime;
- The individual is requested by the victim to testify;
- The person is a relative of the victim (if the victim has died);
- If the victim is a minor; or
- The victim is incapacitated and unable to appear.22
If the board rescinds an inmates parole, the rescission hearing decision is not appealable.23
Similarly, if a victim is notified that the inmate’s parole is going forward as scheduled, the victim cannot appeal the board’s decision.
Rescission hearings are not as common in Colorado as revocation hearings. In 2016, the Colorado parole board conducted 673 rescission hearings. In the same year, there were more than 7,000 revocation hearings.24
If the board makes a decision to revoke a parolee’s parole, the individual can appeal the revocation hearing decision. The parolee or parolee’s lawyer can appeal the parole revocation within 30 days of the revocation hearing.
If you are awaiting an upcoming parole rescission hearing, talk to your lawyer. Your Colorado criminal defense attorney can tell you more about the process and what options you have.
Call us for help…
If you have been a loved one in jail who had parole taken away or suspended, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Please also see our article on application interviews at the Colorado State Board of parole.
- 8 Code of Colorado Regulations (CCR) 1503-1, Rules Governing the State Board of Parole and Parole Proceedings, Rule 2.20 Definitions (“Rescission Hearing – a hearing held by a single member of the Board prior to parole to determine whether the decision granting parole should be rescinded.”)
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 4.2 (“Hearing Sessions include: (1) parole application interviews; (2) full board reviews; (3) rescission hearings; and (4) revocation hearings.”)
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 7. Reconsideration of Parole Prior to Release
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 7.4 (“In the event parole is suspended pursuant to paragraph 7.3. the Board. shall conduct the rescission hearing at the institution in which the individual is confined or by live telecommunication procedures at the Board’s discretion.”)
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 7.5 (“The rescission hearing shall be conducted in the same manner as used in conducting parole application interviews.”)
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 7.1 (“The granting of parole shall be conditioned upon good conduct by the inmate between the date of the order and the effective release to parole. In addition, upon receipt of information not previously considered by the Board, the Board may reconsider, for any reason, the granting of parole to an inmate. The grant of parole is not final until the inmate is released on parole.”)
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 7.3 (“The Board may also suspend the previously-established parole release date prior to release for good cause shown upon receipt of information not previously considered by the Board or upon information reflecting improper conduct by the inmate including. but not limited to. acts that constitute criminal or Department disciplinary violations.”)
- Colorado Department of Corrections, Administrative Regulation 550-08 IV (H) Suspension and Rescission of Parole Board Actions in Discretionary Cases (“1. Facility administrative heads, case manager supervisors, designees, and/or community corrections’ functions: Will determine the need for initiation of suspension in those discretionary cases where significant change has occurred. Significant change will include: a. Parole was granted to a detainer or pending charges, which has since been canceled. b. A detainer has been received, or a warrant filed since parole was granted. c. The offender has been charged with or convicted of a Class I or II disciplinary code violation. d. An additional felony conviction has been received rendering the parole release date, on which the parole decision was based, inaccurate. e. Information that the pre-parole plan in existence at the time of the parole board’s decision is no longer appropriate, e.g., the parole sponsor, for various reasons, is no longer a participant of the plan. f. Unfavorable information or circumstances, which have been received that were not available at the time the release decision was rendered. (Information may include, but not be limited to: filing of an ALERT; negative psychological report; threats; confidential information; etc.). Confirmation of information will be provided by the appropriate case manager. g. Offender’s refusal to sign parole agreement, or interstate waiver of extradition. h. Offender’s denial for placement in community corrections as a condition of parole. i. Other circumstances of similar significance, e.g., refusal to submit to medical exam to determine feasibility of substance abuse.
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 7.2 (“When an inmate who has been granted parole is unable to satisfy the conditions of parole. through no fault of his or her own. prior to release on parole. release may be held in suspense until such time as he or she is able to satisfy the parole conditions.”)
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 7.1, see footnote 6 above.
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 6.6 (“Prior to taking final action, the Board may review the records, case histories. personal data. criminal records. parole plan. risk assessment guidelines. objective parole criteria and other information as may be brought before the Board.”)
- 8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 6.04 Consideration of the Totality of the Circumstances (“(A) In considering Inmates for Parole, the Board shall consider the totality of the circumstances, which include, but need not be limited to, the following factors: (1) The testimony or written statement from the Victim of the crime, or a relative of the Victim, or a designee, pursuant to section C.R.S. 17-2-214; (2) The actuarial risk of reoffense; (3) The Offender’s assessed criminogenic need level; (4) The Offender’s program or treatment participation and progress; (5) The Offender’s institutional conduct; (6) The adequacy of the Offender’s Parole plan; (7) Whether the Offender, while under sentence, has threatened or harassed the Victim, or the Victim’s family, or has caused the Victim, or the Victim’s family, to be threatened or harassed, either verbally or in writing; (8) Aggravating or mitigating factors from the criminal case; (9) The testimony or written statement from a prospective Parole sponsor, employer, or other person who would be available to assist the Offender if released on Parole; (10) Whether the Offender had previously absconded or escaped or attempted to abscond or escape while on community supervision; and (11) Whether the Offender completed or worked toward completing a high school diploma, a general equivalency degree, or a college degree during his or her period of incarceration.”)
- 8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 3.05 Attendance Requirements (A)(4) (“During Parole Application Interviews, Full Board Reviews and Rescission Hearings, attorneys may be present with proper clearance, but have no specific legal authority. Attorneys may be present and advocate for their clients during Revocation Hearings.”)
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 7.5, see footnote 5 above.
- 8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 3.05 Attendance Requirements (A) General Requirements for Attendance. (“(1) Persons attending Parole Hearings shall not disrupt the orderly conduct of the hearing. (2) Banners, placards, or similar demonstrations or disruptive sounds will be cause for removal from the Hearing. (3) Opposing parties shall be separated.”)
- 8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 3.05 Attendance Requirements (B) Access to Hearings (“(1) Members of the public shall be permitted access to attend Parole Board Hearings, unless they are currently under criminal supervision or when such access is specifically determined to be incompatible with the safety and security of the Hearing. (2) For Application Interviews, members of the public may only attend a Hearing at the facility where the Offender is assigned. (3) The request shall be submitted to the assigned facility at a minimum of 10 working days prior to the Hearing. (4) Once the clearance has been obtained, the assigned facility will coordinate with the visitor to schedule access. (5) Members of the public who wish to attend a Hearing must be cleared through the Administrative Head or designee, prior to the date of the Hearing.”)
- 8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 3.06 Attendance by Offender Supporters (“(A) For the safety and security of all attendees, offender supporters in attendance will be limited to five. (B) For Application Interviews, offender supporters may only attend a Hearing at the facility where the Offender is assigned.”)
- 8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 3.06 Attendance by Offender Supporters (“(F) An individual who wishes to be present to support the Offender may do so, but may not have an opportunity to speak unless the presiding Board Member permits the individual to do so.”)
- 8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 3.05 Attendance Requirements (C) Victim Attendance at a Hearing. (“(2) For Application Interviews, Victims may attend Hearings in person at the location of the Parole Board Member who is conducting the interview. (3) Victims shall be allowed to attend all types of Board Hearings (i.e., Application Interviews, Full Board Reviews, Rescission Hearings, Revocation Hearings). Victims may attend in person or by telephone or video conference.”)
- 8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 3.05 Attendance Requirements (C) Victim Attendance at a Hearing. (“(13) An individual may testify at any Hearing, personally or with counsel, on behalf of the Victim if the individual: (a) is a Victim of any crime; or (b) is requested by the Victim to appear on behalf of such Victim; or (c) is a relative of the Victim if the Victim has died, or (d) if the Victim is a minor, or (e) if the Victim is incapacitated and unable to appear.”)
- 8 CCR 1503-1, Rule 6.8 (“Board Parole Application interview decisions are not appealable.”)
- Colorado State Board of Parole, Annual Report: FY 2016 (“During FY 2016, the Parole Board conducted: 16,188 Application Hearings; 673 Rescission Hearings; and 7,055 Revocation Hearings.”) at: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/12-16_Joint%20Judicary%20Committee.pdf