On behalf of the Commissioners and staff, I welcome you to the U.S. Parole Commission Website.

As an independent agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Parole Commission has a long and proud history. Since 1910, the Commission, and its predecessor agencies, has been an integral part of the federal criminal justice system, exercising its authority regarding the discretionary release of offenders, with a paramount commitment to protecting public safety.

One of only a few paroling authorities to be accredited by the American Correctional Association's Commission on Standards and Accreditation, we are committed to our mission of conscientiously applying time-tested guidelines and policies to each case coming before us. Our decisions to release, or not release, are guided by a demonstration of an eligible offender's readiness to rejoin the community and an assurance of a release plan (including a support network, stringent supervision and accountability, and the availability of meaningful sanctions for failure to comply with conditions of release) that greatly enhances the likelihood of successful reintegration back into the community.

To assist us in that endeavor, the Commission has developed explicit parole release guidelines, and considers information from various sources, including presentence reports, input from the sentencing judge, the prosecutor, and prison officials, as well as the offender. Through our Victim/Witness Program, the Commission also actively seeks input from the victim of the offense and members of the victim's family.

In 1997, the U.S. Congress extended paroling authority to the U.S. Parole Commission over all offenders sentenced in the District of Columbia. The Commission exercises similar authority in those cases, subject to the guidelines and procedures applicable to D.C. offenders.

There are 1.2 million people in federal and state prisons in America today. The vast majority of them will be returning to their communities. About 585,000 will return this year. We all want these individuals to return as productive members of their communities. This requires a comprehensive effort by everyone in the criminal justice system, and the process must begin even before incarceration. While only a small percentage of these offenders will fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Parole Commission, it is our commitment to apply our ninety years of knowledge and experience to make thoughtful decisions and to do everything in our power to ensure your community is safe.

Again, welcome to the U.S. Parole Commission... online!

Michael J. Gaines, Chairman

U.S. Parole Commission Archive