We'll try to tackle some of the questions posed at the recent Sacramento seminar that we either didn't have time to get to or for which the answer would have required a pretty involved response.
Q: Can an inmate's family contact the DA in support of the inmate?
A: Well, you could try, but here's a newsflash--the DA is not your inmate's friend. His/her job is to keep that prisoner inside, so whatever support you want to offer, the DA is not the path. We cover this in our seminars, and if you send us an email, we'll send you some handouts on what you can do and how to do it.
Q: How come there are not doctors/psychologists at parole hearings?
A: The BPH relies on the Comprehensive Risk Assessments (CRA) or psych evals, created by the clinicians employed by the BPH Forensic Assessment Division (FAD). How accurate are those? Wow. We could (and do) go on for days about this. Sign up for the newsletter, come to a seminar for in depth details.
Q. I understand at least one commissioner from a previous hearing must be present at the next hearing. Is that considered overfamiliarity?
A: No and no. It is not required that a commissioner from a previous hearing be on the panel at the next hearing, unless the previous hearing had been continued for some reason. More often than not, it isn't the same commissioner. And even if it were the same commissioner, overfamiliarity is a term used by CDCR when prison and staff and inmates become personally involved. Always to the detriment of the inmate.
Q: How detrimental is receiving a 115 within 6 years of the hearing?
A: While a rule of thumb is, the more time between the 115 and the hearing the better, it largely depends on what the 115 was for and if there is a history of similar behavior in the past. If it was for violence and the prisoner has a history of violent 115, it could have a substantial impact. Same with cell phones. If it's for late to work, etc. it will be less important.
Q: Which commissioners specifically handle Level IV hearings?
A: All commissioners handle all levels and BPH staff try to rotate all the commissioners so that they all get to experience each institution. While some are more often assigned to hearings in Southern Cal and other to the north area, based largely on where they reside and travel issues, any commissioner can and does show up at any institution.
That's all for now, more coming up! Want to get answers to your questions? Come to a seminar!