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Posted on April 6, 2022 in Criminal Defense

How Does Parole Work in Arizona?

The rules for parole differ by state. Generally, parole is the conditional release of an inmate before the end of their sentence. If approved for parole, the inmate will spend the rest of their sentence outside of prison but under community supervision.

If the parolee violates any terms of their parole, the court may revoke parole and send them back to prison. The court may also reinstate parole but add stricter rules and conditions for remaining on parole.

What Are the Types of Parole in Arizona?

Most criminal offenses may qualify for parole. However, the Truth in Sentencing Bill exempted Class 1 felonies from parole. Therefore, for inmates serving a life sentence with the possibility of release, the Governor must pardon them or commute their sentences to be released from prison. 

An inmate might qualify for one of four different types of parole. The types of parole in Arizona are:

Emergency Parole

Emergency parole is used to relieve overcrowding in jails. First-offenders who are considered not to be dangerous may be eligible for emergency parole under Arizona Statute §41-1604.11. Class 4, 5, and 6 felonies may qualify for emergency parole.

Regular Parole

Inmates may be eligible for supervised release under Arizona Statute §41-1604.09 if they have completed a mandatory minimum amount of their sentence. In addition, inmates who serve one-half or two-thirds of their sentence may be eligible for regular parole.

Commutation of Sentence

Under Arizona Statutes §§31-443 and 13-603, an inmate may receive a commutation of their sentence. A commutation does not pardon the inmate or remove the criminal charges. However, it does reduce the prison sentence. The Board of Executive Clemency must recommend commutation, and the Governor must approve it.

Absolute Discharge

The Board of Executive Clemency may recommend and approve a full, unsupervised release under Arizona Statutes §§41-1604.09D and 31-414. Absolute discharge ends the inmate’s sentence. 

How Does the Parole Process Work in Arizona?

The Board of Executive Clemency holds parole hearings for eligible inmates. The Board must decide whether granting parole is in the public’s best interest. It must also determine if there is a substantial chance that the inmate might commit another crime if the Board grants parole.

The Board has broad discretion in granting parole and choosing the type of parole an inmate receives. 

Factors that the Board may consider include, but are not limited to:

  • The inmate’s criminal record
  • A history of mental illness
  • The criminal offense that led to the imprisonment
  • Aggravating factors involved in the crime
  • Statements made by the victim
  • The inmate’s conduct and behavior in prison
  • The time served to date

Inmates in Arizona generally become eligible for parole after serving one-half of their prison sentence. An exception is if Arizona’s criminal laws require the inmate to serve a minimum of two-thirds of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

What Are the Rules or Conditions of Parole for Arizona Inmates?

If the Board grants parole, it places conditions on the inmate’s release. The inmate must follow the parole terms or face going back to prison for the rest of their sentence. 

During community supervision, the terms and conditions of parole may include:

  • Reporting requirements with a parole officer
  • Unannounced and random home visits from a parole officer
  • Remaining in the same residence unless notifying the parole officer you are moving
  • Not leaving the area without the approval of the parole officer
  • Attending/completing counseling, substance abuse, substance treatment, or other programs
  • Complying with restraining orders and no-contact orders
  • Paying restitution payments to victims
  • Taking random alcohol and drug tests
  • Performing community service
  • Maintaining gainful employment
  • Payment of a monthly parole fee
  • Prohibited from committing criminal offenses while on parole 

The inmate’s behavior in prison, criminal record, and potential threat to society help determine the terms and conditions for parole. Also, the severity of the crime committed and any aggravating factors could impact parole conditions. In addition, an inmate may be released on parole but required to stay in home detention as part of their supervised release.

After the inmate completes parole, they may apply for a Certificate of Absolute Discharge. The certificate indicates that the person completed their full sentence and is no longer under supervised release.

How Long Does Parole Last in Arizona?

The duration of parole depends on the inmate’s original sentence and how long the inmate remained in prison. Depending on the circumstances and whether the inmate receives work furlough, an inmate could spend a significant portion of their sentence outside of prison.

Inmates and their families who have questions or concerns about parole may seek legal advice from a Phoenix criminal defense attorney.They may also contact the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency.

To get help from an experienced attorney, call our law firm at (480) 656-7301 or visit our contact us page.

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