The Board of Pardons and Paroles has voting options other than approval or denial of release to supervision. The Board may grant parole at some designated time in the future or require that the inmate successfully complete a program of between three and eighteen months. When an attorney determines that the possibility of an immediate parole is unlikely he may serve his client well by urging the Board to consider these options and show why such a course of action is in the best interest of the offender and the State of Texas. Examples of a situation where these options may be viable alternatives would be an inmate that otherwise may be a good risk but has not really served enough time, a history of drug abuse or other problems. Should the client have problems that could be addressed in therapeutic surroundings, an attorney does both the inmate and society a service by urging the Board panel to place his client in such programs, even if it results in longer incarceration. Most attorneys have the client’s best interest as a prime concern. If a program gives the inmate what he needs to avoid returning to prison, the lawyer does both the client and society a worthy service.
There are cases in which the attorney provides a valuable service to his client by limiting a set-off to only one year. The attorney must be prepared to adjust his plan of action on-the-fly based upon his experience reading Board member’s reactions to the presentation. Every potential scenario should be explained to the offender and family and loved ones prior to the oral presentation so everyone understands what to expect. For some parole reviews, securing a one year set-off may ultimately be a win. In the end, members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles are looking to identify inmates who they believe are ready to succeed and want to find the path that increases the chances of success