Connecticut Pardons and Parole [Questions and Answers]

Posted on: August 23, 2019

The topic of pardons and parole in Connecticut is a mixed bag. Pardons and parole involve a multi-step process with discretion considering the timeline and planning. Here are a few common questions that we hear from clients about this topic and our answers to them.

Q: What pardons are available? 

A: The first is an absolute pardon, which if granted, completely erases the official criminal record. The second is a certificate of employability, which attempts to ensure that the employer will not discriminate against any prospective job applicant.

Q: What is the eligibility for pardons? 

A: Eligibility for pardons differs. Expungement, or an absolute pardon, eligibility requires five years without criminal behavior from the point of felony and three years for a misdemeanor conviction. Eligibility to apply requires no pending charges in either state or federal jurisdictions.  

Q: How long does the pardons process usually take? 

A: The pardons process proceeds on a first-come-first-serve basis throughout the year, which means that the length of time varies base on the number of applications. Approval for a pardon is required from the Pardons Board, Connecticut state police, the Connecticut probation department and the Connecticut judicial branch.

Q: Is legal representation required to receive a pardon? 

A: No, pardons do not require legal representation. A legal representative neither affects the speed at which an application is reviewed nor the chances of success.  

Q: What is parole?

A: Parole is an agreement between the Connecticut Department of Correction and an individual convicted of a crime to provide structure and guidance on acceptable behavior and guarantee treatment to the individual. The agreement is intended to deter future criminal behavior. 

Q: What is the parole process? 

A: A person must apply to participate in the parole process, requesting a hearing to determine one’s eligibility. Whenever eligible, an officer must meet with members of the Department of Correction and a member from the Board of Pardons and Paroles to create a plan that the parole participant must be accountable. This plan will be the future guideline of the entire process moving forward. 

Q: How can one prepare for the parole hearing? 

A: The Board of Pardons and Paroles expects every eligible parole inmate to participate in programs leading up to the parole process.  The Board favors inmates who prepare for their respective parole meetings by participating in workshops and programs geared toward rehabilitation.  Even though parole hearings are technically public, only specific individuals are provided with the right to speak. 

Q: What happens after the parole hearing?  

A:  Parole can either be granted or denied. If denied, the reasons are communicated to the participant and can be denied for various reasons. Unfortunately, parole decisions are discretionary and final and cannot be appealed to a higher authority.  While decisions can be submitted for reconsideration, they usually require extenuating circumstances for a different outcome.  If denied, a new hearing date can be issued. During this time, the person applying for parole should use this time wisely by responding to the reasons outlined in the denial letter (if applicable). 

Q: What happens after a parole violation?  

A: If a parolee violates their parole agreement, the parole officer and supervisor determine the appropriate response. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, parole can be revoked.   Call (203) 624-6115 to schedule a consultation with Knight & Cerritelli in our New Haven office. NOTE: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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