Parole Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be notified when the inmate leaves the prison to begin parole?
If you are a victim of crime and registered with OVA and want to be notified of the exact date of the inmate's release from prison, you should call our office at 1.800.563.6399.
Information is provided upon verbal request – it is not provided automatically. Upon request, we do provide parole release information, when available, prior to the offender’s actual release.
The release information currently available includes:
- the offender's date of release
- the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) office where the offender will be supervised and when available, the name of the assigned parole agent
- In cases where the offender is being paroled to a community corrections center, we also provide the name and location of the center.
If you are enrolled in PA SAVIN and your contact information is current, you will receive the following notifications from PA SAVIN via phone and/or email:
- When the inmate is released on parole from a SCI
- If the offender fails to report to the CCC or to the parole agent and is placed in “absconder” status
How long after release does the parolee have to report to his parole agent? How often will the parolee have to see the parole agent?
The parolee must report to the duty agent at the assigned parole office within 24 hours of release from prison, Monday through Friday. The number of times the parolee must see his parole agent is determined by the level of supervision the offender is under. Upon the offender’s release from prison, parole agents utilize a risk-needs assessment to determine the appropriate level of supervision for the offender. In addition to this assessment, there are certain criteria that must also be considered:
- A parolee serving time for a violent offense can never be below the medium level of supervision
- Sex offender supervision must never be below the maximum level of supervision
- Upon release, ALL parolees must be at least under the medium level of supervision
There are two types of contacts involved: face-to-face and collateral.
- Face-to-face contacts: The parolee and the parole agent meet either in the PBPP office or where the parolee lives or works
- Collateral contacts: The parole agent meets with those who have contact with the parolee, without the parolee present. Collateral contacts can include treatment providers, employers, or family members.
Can I know where a parolee lives or works?
Due to legal restrictions, OVA staff is not permitted to release the addresses of private residences where parolees may live or businesses where parolees may work. Should you have a concern regarding the location of a parolee, please contact our office at 1.800.563.6399.
Can I know if he/she is in treatment or involved in special programs, like parenting classes or drug and alcohol counseling?
Information about the treatment an offender may be actively involved is confidential and cannot be released to the public. If you have questions about any conditions that the parolee is expected to follow, please contact our office.
What do I do if the parolee contacts me?
If the parolee is behaving in a way that is threatening and/or places you in immediate danger, you should contact your local police department or call 911 immediately. If the parolee has made or attempted to make contact with you, you may notify the parole agent. Be prepared that the agent will ask you questions about the type of the contact, the time and date it occurred, or if there were any other witnesses to the contact. You may always contact us to discuss what happened and what your options are.
Does my offender fall under Megan’s Law?
This is not a question that can be answered generally as it depends on when the offender was sentenced and the crime of conviction. Please refer to the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board
or PA Megan’s Law
for more specific information about Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania. Also, you may call our office with any additional questions that you may have.
What happens if the parolee fails to report to the community corrections center or to the parole agent?
The parole agent will attempt to locate the offender and if this fails, PBPP will issue a warrant for the parolee's arrest. The parolee is considered an “absconder” when this occurs.
Am I allowed to contact the parole agent?
Yes. We encourage you to do so. After the offender is paroled, the OVA has very little direct information about the offender and his progress while on parole. Although parole agents are restricted by law in providing specific information regarding a parolee’s address and progress in treatment, they can talk to you in general terms about supervision and what is expected from a parolee.
However, if you are having difficulty reaching the parole agent, and have questions about contacting the parole agent or do not feel comfortable contacting the parole agent, you may call our office and we will make the contact on your behalf.
Is my contact with the parole agent confidential?
Not necessarily. Parole agents are not bound by the same confidentiality as staff members of the Office of the Victim Advocate. If you are worried about confidentiality, let the parole agent know at the beginning of your conversation. If you are providing information regarding potential violations of parole supervision, it is important to remember that the parole agent may have responsibility to act on such information if warranted.
How can I find out which parole office is supervising a parolee?
You can find out which PBPP office is supervising the parolee.
If you are a victim of crime, call the Office of the Victim Advocate at 1.800.563.6399 during regular business hours (8 am – 4:45 pm).
If you are a community member, call the PBPP at 717.772.4343 during regular business hours.
Is the parolee allowed to leave the state?
A parolee may leave the state, but only with the permission of the parole agent. If a parolee does not receive permission and is found to have left his agent’s district or the state without permission, this is considered a parole violation.
Agents do not collect restitution. However, restitution payments along with other court-ordered financial obligations can be a condition of parole, agents may monitor payments to the county collection agent (i.e.: clerk of courts, adult probation, etc.). Parolees make payments directly to the county collection agent, who then disburses the money.
Does the parolee have to be employed?
As long as the offender is physically or otherwise capable of working, PBPP expects that they be employed or in an educational or job training program and be actively seeking employment.
Is a parolee allowed to drive?
Generally, yes. In specific types of offenses (DUI, etc), it is not uncommon for PBPP to impose a condition allowing a parolee to drive provided they possess a valid license, proof of insurance and a valid registration. However, in addition, they typically also need their agent’s permission to drive.
If a parolee is not restricted from driving, then the parole agent collects information such as the offender’s driver’s license information, as well as the make and model of the vehicle the offender will be driving.
What is the difference between a "mandatory" condition and other Board-imposed conditions? Can the parole agent impose conditions?
There are two types of conditions that impact an offender’s parole: general and special.
A general condition applies to every parolee regardless of the crime of conviction and includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- maintaining regular contact with parole supervision staff
- complying with all laws, including the vehicle and liquor codes
- abstaining from drug use, assaultive behavior and the possession of firearms; and,
- abiding by any other special conditions
Special conditions include both imposed conditions and mandatory conditions. Imposed special conditions are those added by parole supervision staff, hearing examiners, and Board Members. These can be removed or modified by parole supervision staff. Mandatory special conditions can be included only at the discretion of a Board Member and, therefore, can only be modified or removed by a Board Member.
What is the difference between a “no contact” condition as part of parole and a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order? If there is a “no contact” condition, do I still need to apply for a PFA?
A “no contact” condition is imposed by the PBPP or parole agent and is enforced by a parole agent. Violation of such a condition is handled by the parole agent.
A PFA is a court order issued by a judge and enforced by the police. If you qualify, we suggest you obtain a PFA. A PFA can address other issues such as residency and custody. In domestic violence situations, this can be an important part of staying safe. If you obtain a PFA against someone under PBPP supervision, it would be helpful to let the parole agent know.
What is electronic monitoring?
When a parolee is placed on electronic monitoring, a base unit is placed in the parolee's residence and an ankle bracelet is worn by the parolee. When engaged, the PBPP is electronically notified if the parolee leaves their residence or tampers with the ankle bracelet. If the PBPP receives a notification, a phone call is placed to the parolee's residence. If the parolee does not answer, follow-up is done by the agent but this may not occur immediately. If you have safety concerns, do not rely on electronic monitoring to help keep you safe.
Community Corrections Centers
How does the parolee get to the community corrections center?
Offenders must arrange for their own transportation to the community corrections center. Often, it is a family member or friend of the offender who drives them from the prison to the community corrections center.
If paroled to a community corrections center, is the parolee allowed to leave it?
Offenders placed in community corrections centers have full access to the community. They are permitted to leave the center to look for employment, attend treatment, and to do grocery shopping or other shopping. They may also earn furloughs to spend time at a private residence away from the community corrections center.
Will I be notified when the parolee leaves the community corrections center and goes to a private residence?
No. Unless you specifically ask for this information. If you want to be made aware of the exact date the parolee is going to leave from the community corrections center and begin living in a private residence, you may contact the assigned parole agent or contact our office and we will attempt to get the information for you.
Will the parolee go to a community corrections center in my area or in the area where the crime occurred?
Community corrections centers are located throughout the state, most located in or near urban areas. If an offender is approved for parole to a community corrections center, it is possible that they will return to a community corrections center in your area. Some offenders are required to attend specialized community correction centers that provide Violence Prevention Programming. If you are concerned that the offender may return to your area, please contact our office and we can discuss this with you.