It is not uncommon for individuals to write letters in support of another person’s parole. In many cases, a well-written letter can make the difference between an individual being granted or denied parole.
A parole support letter is a succinct statement of the facts sent to the parole board by friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else who knows the prisoner to show the parole panel that the offender will have a reliable support network upon release and is, therefore, deserving of parole.
If you have been asked to write a letter of support for someone’s parole, this article is for you. This article provides a full guide on how to write a letter of support for parole.
Carefully read through!
What is a Letter of Support for Parole?
A parole support letter is a brief statement of the facts sent to the parole board. Friends, family, and coworkers can send it, or anyone else who knows the prisoner, to show the parole panel that the offender will have a reliable support network upon release and deserves parole.
Typically, a parole board must consider several factors before releasing an inmate back into society, including the inmate’s age, prior incarceration, committed offence, prison disciplinary history, level of current prison custody, and so forth.
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Why do you need a letter of support for parole?
A parole support letter is the best way for a prisoner who meets the requirements for parole to demonstrate their support for their release on parole.
During the parole review process, the parole panel can access the parole support letters filed in the offender’s case file. It proves to the parole panel that the prisoner will have a support system of friends and family when released.
It is vital to choose a parolee who won’t commit another crime or break any of their conditions of release.
Additionally, a letter of support for parole is critical because:
- It is evident that the offender is known to and cared about by someone.
- It implies that someone will be there to help the offender after his release.
- It softens criminal records by highlighting the offender’s virtues.
Who Can Write a Parole Support Letter?
Anyone can write a parole support letter for this loved one. You can write this letter if you are a close friend, neighbour, or family member.
Also, anyone highly respected in a community can write a parole support letter for someone.
Aside from this set of people, a prospective employer, school teacher, student, or counsellor can also write this kind of letter.
How Do I Write a Parole Support Letter?
The following is the format your parole support letter should come in:
- Your Address
- Parole board address
- Subject Matter
- Introductory paragraph- You should be able to introduce yourself and tell the panel how you are related to the offender.
- Subject matter paragraphs-
- Closing paragraphs
- Name and signature
A parole support letter is formal, so you must follow a business letter format when writing it.
First, you write your address, then the date and the parole board address. After that, you add your salutation and a catchy introduction.
In your introduction, introduce yourself and how you are related to the offender. Also, tell the panel why you believe the offender is unlikely to re-offend or break parole restrictions, followed by an explanation of how you will assist the offender’s rehabilitation.
Conclude by echoing your support for the offender and briefly summarizing why they should grant the offender parole.
End with “Sincerely,” your signature, and your name.
Collate Relevant Info
If you omit the critical information, your letter of support for parole may lose its impact. As a result, to make your letter stand out, you must include all required information and proof.
Before writing your letter, make sure you have the following details:
- The first and last name of the prisoner
- The parole number for the prisoner
- State-run prisons were the prisoner.
- Prior achievements of the prisoner
- The participant has improved since being imprisoned.
- Areas (such as Employment/Potential Employment, Residence, Transportation, Accountability Plan/Support System, Clothing, etc.) where you intend to offer assistance and encouragement
- Additional details that, in your opinion, could aid the parole panel’s decision-making
NB: The parole board must have the inmate’s name and other identifying information, such as the institution of parole number.
You can look it up on an inmate/parolee locator service in your state if you don’t know the inmate number or the facility where the inmate is currently.
Writing a Parole Support Letter
The following is how you can write your parole support letter.
1. Your Address
Your address is the first thing on your parole support letter. Place your address in the upper left corner of your letter. To keep things professional, use a header letter.
Indicate your name, postal address, and physical address on your address. Plus, your phone number and email address.
The date is another essential thing to add to your parole support letter. When writing a parole support letter, ensure that your data is up-to-date. Avoid writing without a date.
3. Parole board Address
You can get the parole board address from the state’s parole board website. N/B: Address the parole board member as “Honorable Parole Board Members.”
The best way to respect Parole Board members is through a salutation. Greetings from an Honorable Parole Board Board. The salutation should come before or after the letter’s subject.
5. Topic line
Your letter’s purpose must be conveyed in the subject line. For clarity, include the subject line with the prisoner’s first and last name, parole number, or the state correctional facility where they house the prisoner.
Identify yourself by name, age, and, if appropriate, by title, job, etc. Your connection to the prisoner and how long you’ve known him.
7. Body paragraphs
Not to scare you, but the body paragraph of your parole support letter is the most difficult because it decides the outcome of your loved one.
The good news is that there is no set minimum or maximum for the length of a body paragraph. Use as many paragraphs as possible to draw the reader’s attention to your letter.
Follow these guidelines to create an effective support letter:
- Describe why you think the prisoner deserves a chance at parole.
- Cites instances demonstrating an inmate’s character despite having a criminal record.
- Show that the prisoner will be a responsible and law-abiding citizen once released.
- Describe the prisoner’s regret and guilt.
- List the prisoner’s accomplishments before his arrest.
- Describe the advancements the participant has made since going to jail or prison.
- Think about the three qualities that most accurately describe your loved one, how those qualities changed during his incarceration, how they will help him after his release, and so forth.
8. Closing Sentence
Your letter should end with a brief statement that expresses your faith in your loved one and provides contact information in case of inquiries.
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Sending a Letter of Support for Parole
You must deliver your last letter at the specified address or through any channel recognized by your state’s parole board, such as email or posting it online.
How frequently should you send a letter of support for parole?
Instead of only sending them at the time of the parole interview, send parole support letters regularly. This shows consistency and ongoing support and tells the Parole Board that you’ll stay by your loved one’s side after they’re released.
How to Address a Letter to the Parole Board
A well-written parole letter can influence the result of a parole hearing. Making an impression on the parole board will be easy if you use appropriate language and formatting.
1. Utilize expert formatting
A letter of parole should be typewritten and formatted as a professional business letter because it is formal. Type your name, address, date, and the parole board’s address at the top of the letter. Show the prisoner’s name and identifying number beneath this.
2. Use polite language
Since this is a business letter, use a colon instead of a comma after the salutation. Write in a formal tone without using slang or foul language.
Leave space above your name to sign the letter, then sign the letter “Sincerely,” followed by your full name.
3. Use appropriate grammar and spelling.
Before sending your letter, check it for proper grammar and spelling. Has someone else proofread the letter if you are unsure of your writing abilities?
You’ll have a better chance of being taken seriously by the parole board if you use proper grammar and spelling.
4. Be truthful
Although the letter should sound formal, it does not obligate you to follow a template or have it written by a professional.
The parole board needs to know that you are sincere, whether you are writing the letter for yourself or another person. Form letters come off as insincere; use your own words to make your point.
Don’t be afraid to include emotional expression in your speech. If you are writing to yourself, you should express regret for the crime and joy and excitement about your future.
If you are writing to the parole board on someone else’s behalf, you might express your concern for the offender and your desire to help them once they are free.
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It is important to remember that a letter of support for parole should be honest, respectful, and free of any personal attacks.
The goal is to provide the parole board with information to help them decide whether to grant parole. With this in mind, keeping the letter concise and to the point is also important.
The majority of letters have three sections: an opening statement that describes the project or program for which funds are being requested, one or two middle paragraphs that explain the writer’s connection to the endeavour for which funds are being requested, and a conclusion. Ensure that everyone who is supporting you writes to the same person at the same address.
Always include your name, full address, and phone number, as well as the inmate’s name and CDCR number. Support letters must be up to date; even if nothing has changed since you wrote one for an inmate at his or her prior hearing, which was one or more years ago, write a new letter.
A letter of parole should be typed on letterhead and include the parole board’s address, contact information, and date. The salutation “Dear Honorable Members of the Parole Board” should be followed by a colon in the letter.
Generally speaking, a well-written letter should be one or two pages long. In all but exceptional cases, it shouldn’t exceed two pages.