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Hearing Officers Division

Hearing Officers Division
404 James Robertson Pkwy, 15th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 253-6838
Fax: (615) 253-3807

The Hearing Officers Division functions as a supporting element to the Board in carrying out its statutory mandate to conduct parole hearings. Hearing Officers are vital to the Board's prudent and orderly release of adult felons. In their capacity as fact finders, Hearing Officers function as an extension of the Board in accordance with TCA 40-28-105. Parole Hearing Officers are appointed by the Chair of the Board of Parole and are empowered to conduct parole hearings in local jails, Department of Correction institutions and other detention facilities throughout the state for all eligible offenders, and to provide Board Members with non-binding recommendations. They may also conduct courtesy parole hearings for other states upon request.

Organizational Structure and Functional Responsibility

The organizational structure of the Parole Hearing Officers Division consists of a Central Office component and four parole hearing regions. The Parole Hearings Director, assisted by the Parole Hearings Assistant Director, has statewide responsibility for the operation and effectiveness of the division. Each of the four parole hearing regions is under the direct supervision of a Parole Hearings Regional Supervisor, who functions in the dual capacity of supervisor and hearings officer. An administrative secretary assigned to each region provides administrative support.

Parole Hearing Officers function as an extension of the Board in the parole hearing process. In accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated TCA㫀-28-105(d) (2), Hearing Officers are appointed by the Chair of the Board of Parole to conduct parole hearings and make non-binding recommendations for review by Board Members.

Pursuant to statute, parole hearings are conducted in local jails, Department of Correction institutions and other locations within the state for all eligible offenders who come under the purview of the Board. Courtesy parole hearings are conducted for other states upon request. Parole Hearing Officers conduct hearings in the following categories:

  • Grant hearings;

  • Final revocation hearings;

  • Pre-parole rescission hearings;

  • Time setting hearings;

  • Post-parole rescission hearings;

  • Appeal hearings;

  • Preliminary parole revocation hearings.
  • In making a parole hearing recommendation, the Hearing Officer reviews the offender's Board of Parole hearing file and institutional file, as well as other essential information that may impact the outcome of the hearing. This information may include but is not limited to:

  • Recommendations and statements from institutional staff, family members and members of the community in support or opposition;

  • Testimony of interested parties who are in support or opposition;

  • Proposed release plan and information provided by the offender;

  • Offender views on how he or she will be successful on parole supervision;

  • Social and criminal history;

  • Prior supervision history in the criminal justice system;

  • Circumstances of the current offense(s);

  • Institutional record and program participation;

  • Evidence and testimony pertaining to parole revocation;

  • Other information deemed relevant to the hearing.

  • In addition to the information referenced above, Parole Hearing Officers utilize several advisory instruments in the parole hearing process. The risk assessment instrument is used as one means of assessing the risk level of offenders being considered for release. Other advisory instruments used are the Guidelines for Release and Revocation Guidelines. These instruments, although advisory, are critical to maintaining consistency and credibility in the parole hearing recommendation and decision-making process.

    Board Members review all recommendations made by the Hearing Officers and may adopt, modify or reject the recommendation. Pursuant to statute, three concurring votes by Board Members constitutes a final parole decision for some conviction offenses, while four concurring votes are required for most violent conviction offenses. Two concurring votes are required to revoke parole.

    Parole Hearing Appeals

    Tennessee Code Annotated 40-28-105 (d)(11) mandates an appeal review process for offenders whose parole has been denied, revoked or rescinded. It also establishes the criteria for appellate reviews. Responsibility for managing the parole hearing appellate review process is assigned to the Parole Hearing Officers Division. Appellate reviews may be granted for any of the following reasons:

  • Significant new information that was not available at the time of the hearing;

  • Misconduct by the hearings official;

  • Significant procedural error(s) by the hearings official.

  • The Parole Hearing Officers Division's central office staff employs a three-tier review process to review appeals. Appeals that meet the above criteria are forwarded to Board Members for review and final instructions specific to the appeal. Appeal requests must be submitted no later than 45 days after the offender receives notification of the Board's final parole decision. If the Board directs that an appeal hearing should be granted, the hearing will be scheduled on the next available docket and the decision from that hearing is final.

    The Parole Hearing Officers Division consists of Central Office and four regions–East, Middle, West and Delta.

    Director of Parole Hearings
    Assistant Director of Parole Hearings
    404 James Robertson Pkwy, 15th Floor
    Nashville, TN 37243
    Phone: (615) 253-6838
    Fax: (615) 253-3807