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TEXAS BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES

REVISED PAROLE GUIDELINES

HISTORY

Prior to 1983, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (Board) used Salient and Significant Factor Score Sheets when making parole decisions.

In 1983, the Board adopted the PABLO Scale to aid members in applying similar criteria to parole decisions.

In 1985, the Legislature mandated that the Board include Parole Guidelines, with minimum release criteria, into parole decision-making. Based on research, the Parole Guidelines were to consider the seriousness of the offense and the likelihood of a favorable parole outcome.

In 1987, the Board combined the PABLO Scale with Parole Guidelines that measured parole risks to set a parole risk score.

In 1996, after conducting a study of guideline usage, the Criminal Justice Policy Council recommended that revised guidelines be developed to ensure that the criteria reflect Board policy, to apply the guidelines in a consistent manner to all candidates for parole (reliable), and to predict the risk to public safety (valid).

In 1999, the Board contracted with Security Response Technologies, Inc. (SRT, Inc.), an 18-month, three-phase project:

On January 18, 2001, The Policy Board adopted the assessment and design of the new parole guidelines as submitted by Security Response Technologies, Inc.

In 2010, the Board selected MGT of America, Inc., to conduct research and provide recommendations for updating the Parole Guidelines.

The 18-month initiative researched data on domestic violence, gender (female) differences, and security threat group considerations.

In 2012, MGT of America Inc., conducted research and recommended the change to separate risk scales by gender, which the Board adopted.

On April 16, 2015, the Board partnered with a consultant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and developed a new range of Recommended Parole Approval Rates. In addition and based upon research, a recommendation was also made to change the final guideline level from 4 to 3 in the “High” Risk, “Moderate” Offense Severity position of the Matrix.

COMPONENTS OF THE GUIDELINES

The revised Parole Guidelines consist of two major components that interact to provide a single score. The first is a Risk Assessment Instrument that weighs both static and dynamic factors associated with the offender’s record. The second component is Offense Severity Class.

Risk Assessment Instrument

Static factors are those associated with the offender's prior criminal record. They will not change over time. Dynamic factors reflect characteristics the offender has demonstrated since being incarcerated and can change over time.

Static factors include:

Dynamic factors include:

An offender can be assigned 0-10 points on Static Factors and 0-9 points on Dynamic Factors. A low score is associated with low risk. The higher the score, the greater the risk the in granting parole.

As a result of the 2012 revalidation study completed in 2012, it was determined that a separate risk scale for males and females was necessary.

Score Assigned Risk Level
Based on the total of static and dynamic factor points, the risk level to be assigned to the offender should be determined below:
MALE
FEMALE
Points
Points
Low Risk
3 or less
3 or less
Moderate Risk
4-8
4-9
High Risk
9-15
10+
Highest Risk
16+
N/A

Offense Severity Class

The Board has assigned an Offense Severity Ranking to every one of the felony offenses in the statute. Offense Severity Classes range from Low, for non-violent crimes such as credit card abuse, to Highest, for capital murder. If an offender is incarcerated for more than one offense, the most serious active offense is assigned an Offense Severity Class identified by the established list.

THE PAROLE GUIDELINES SCORE

The two components of the guidelines – Risk Assessment and Offense Severity – are then merged into a matrix that creates the offender’s Parole Guidelines Score (at the intersection of risk level and offense severity in the diagrams below). Separate risk scales have been developed for male and female offenders. Parole Guidelines Scores range from 1, for an individual with the poorest probability of success, up to 7, for an offender with the greatest probability of success.

The guidelines are not automatic nor is the Parole Guidelines Score presumptive of whether an offender will be paroled. Parole panel members retain the discretion to vote outside the guidelines when circumstances of an individual case merit their doing so.

RISK LEVEL

 
MALE
FEMALE
 
Risk Level
Risk Level
OFFENSE SEVERITY CLASS
Highest
High
Mod.
Low
High
Mod.
Low
Highest
1
2
2
3
2
2
3
High
2
3
4
4
3
4
4
Moderate
2
3
5
6
3
5
6
Low
3
4
6
7
4
6
7

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Updated 01/22/2019

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