Update to Parole Condition X Situation in Texas
This is reprinted with permission from TexasParoleNow.com.
“As reported on ParoleNow.com last week, an Austin federal judge agreed with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole could not unilaterally impose sex offender conditions, known as Condition X, on parolees who were not convicted of a sex crime without first holding a due process hearing to establish that they were necessary.
However, true to form, the Board (or at least some parole officers) were threatening parolees that if they didn’t waive their right to a hearing they would violate them and send them back to prison.
The case before U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin wasn’t directly addressing this issue. Instead it was about parolee Buddy Yeary’s request to be released from the conditions because he was never afforded the due process hearing. Rather than following the intent of the court ruling, instead the Board chose to order Mr. Yeary to undergo a plethysmograph test. For those of you not aware of this test you can read about it here. The plethysmograph is junk science at its worst and has been excluded from being offered into evidence at trial yet it is often used to monitor probation and parole cases.
Yeary was told that if he didn’t complete the test by a certain date that the Board would revoke his parole. However, the judge had other ideas and issued an injunction preventing the Board from applying the conditions and removed them.
Interestingly, Grits for Breakfast reports that the Board has now modified their policy and the form that the parolees have to sign off on before being released from prison. You can see copies of the new formhere.
Unfortunately, this form shows the Board’s complete disdain for not only the Constitution and the general principles of fairness, but also multiple rulings by the courts. The form requires that the parolees waive their due process rights even before being released from prison and, impliedly, will prevent their release if they do not do so. In addition, the form violates their 5th Amendment rights against self incrimination.
The lawyers who do civil rights work should be lining up and licking their lips at the thought of the many lawsuits the Parole Board is preparing to subject Texas to just so that they can continue on a course that the courts have already told them was wrong.”
Unfortunately, the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole is going to continue trying to game the system in a manner that they decry and for which they hold others accountable. If you have a loved one on parole or facing parole call your local legislator and let them know that this behavior is unacceptable and, in addition, is an expense that Texas can’t bear right now.
There is likely a need for Condition X in some, maybe a lot of parole cases, but it should not be up to the Board to make the decision when the parolee was not found guilty of that crime in the first place and particularly not when the burden of proof on the Board is so low. Condition X is onerous, and needs to be treated as such. In addition, it should not be imposed solely by a parole officer who could have their own bias or prejudices or their own agenda.
Kris Steele Tapped for Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board
Gov. Mary Fallin appointed former Republican speaker of the Oklahoma House, Kris Steele, to serve on the state’s Pardon and Parole Board.
California Inmates Can Reduce Sentence with Certifications
California regulators have given initial approval for new guidelines allowing inmates to reduce their sentences for completing a high school diploma, college degree, work skills certification, or self-help programs.