A parole lawyer works with someone facing a parole hearing to help that person try to gain parole from the board overseeing the hearing. Parole lawyers may also represent clients as defense attorneys during legal proceedings and will sometimes stay with clients after the trial to help them during parole proceedings. Other parole lawyers may be hired by someone facing a parole hearing after a certain amount of time in prison and is looking for more extensive representation. A parole lawyer will also often help someone who has received parole in understanding what that person can and cannot due as terms of his or her parole.
Parole is the process by which someone who has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in prison is able to be released from prison before the end of that time. Sometimes called “early release,” parole is often used as a means of reward for someone who demonstrates a real desire to change or improve himself or herself while in prison. It can also be used as a way of providing a form of reward for someone who demonstrates good behavior in prison.
Regardless of the reasons for parole, a parole lawyer typically specializes in the proceedings, laws, and systems behind parole in a given state within the United States (US). Each state is somewhat different in how it handles parole, and state bodies are established to govern parole hearings and how parole is issued. The US Department of Justice establishes certain practices and expectations for fairness in parole hearings, but the process is mostly performed at a state level.
A parole lawyer usually specializes in the specifics governing parole in the state he or she practices in. He or she may also know the people on parole boards and better understand how to work with them to ensure better chances of success for the person facing a parole hearing. While parole can certainly be received without a parole lawyer, having one often makes the process simpler and can increase the chances of receiving parole.
Much like probation, which is a form of supervised release rather than time in prison, parole will usually have a number of restrictions that must be observed by the parolee to avoid returning to prison. These can include avoiding certain people and activities, as well as observing travel restrictions. A parole lawyer can usually help a parolee better understand these rules and help him or her avoid returning to prison before the end of the parole period.