Parole letters are letters written either by an incarcerated person or by his or her supporters. Intelligently written parole letters attesting to the offender’s character, reformation and plans to improve his or her life will be read by the parole panel and may make the difference between release and denial.
That said, writing a parole letter can be tricky. You want to know what parole panels are looking to hear in order to get the best possible result for yourself, your friend or your loved one.
Make It Professional
Because a parole letter is official communication, you want it to present properly. It should be written with a letterhead including the contact information and address of the parole board and the date of writing. Begin the letter with “Dear Honorable Members of the Parole Board” and a colon rather than a comma. End the letter with “Sincerely,” and use your full name. Always use formal language, appropriate spelling and proper grammar.
Get The Content Right
The best way to think about what to include in a parole letter is to consider what the parole board is thinking when deciding to grant parole. The main concern that would prevent parole from being granted is that an offender will not properly reintegrate into society. The role of the parole letter is to convince the parole board otherwise.
This will differ depending on who is writing the letter. If the potential parolee is writing it, the letter should be simple and to the point. It should express genuine contrition (being sorry for what you have done) as well as tell your plans for what you want to do with your life upon your release. It should be specific but heartfelt and discuss the joy you get from new, useful activities that don’t run the risk of re-offending.
If the offender’s friends or family members are writing the letter, they should discuss how happy they are to have him or her in their lives again. They should make it clear that there will be a support network available for the potential parolee and discuss activities, potential jobs and community ties that await their reintegration into society.
It can be a useful strategy to have strategic community members such as administrators of community centers or successful local businesspeople who are willing to offer tangible, actual support to potential parolees. Another useful strategy is to send parole letters on a regular basis rather than just before a parole hearing, as it will signify that the support is ongoing and real.