Serves as a Quasi-Judicial Body
The Commission on Offender Review performs a vital role in Florida’s criminal justice system by preserving the autonomy needed in post release decisions affecting inmates and ex-offenders. The Commission functions as a quasi-judicial body.
Commissioners preside over approximately 36 hearings annually at the Central Office in Tallahassee and, various other locations throughout the state as required by statute. During these public proceedings, the Commissioners make a variety of determinations regarding parole and other releases. In addition, the Commission reviews releasees’ supervision status every two years.
Every parole-eligible inmate has a constitutionally protected right to proper consideration for parole, and these proceedings must be conducted as required by law. In both parole and conditional medical release, testimony and pertinent information may be provided by representatives of the inmate, the inmate’s family, by persons who were victims of the crime, and the victim’s family. This proceeding is often the first opportunity for a victim, or family member, of a victim to provide input in a non-adversarial venue. If parole is granted, the Commissioners will address victim restitution issues as well as special conditions needed to ensure the protection of the citizens in our state and the successful re-entry of the offender into society. The Commissioners may also hear from law enforcement, state and private attorneys, as well as other interested parties.
During hearings, the Commission also conducts other types of proceedings, such as imposing conditions of conditional release or addiction recovery supervision. The Commission makes final determinations with regard to revocation of post release supervision, where a releasee may have violated the conditions of their release. When the Commission determines that the releasee is guilty of a willful and substantial violation, the Commission may order the violator returned to state prison to complete service of the original term of imprisonment.
The Commission serves as a cost-saving mechanism for the taxpayers of the State of Florida. The Commission saves taxpayer dollars by conducting revocation hearings for post release supervision violators in informal surroundings conducted before a parole examiner, and usually held at a county jail, with witnesses to the violation providing the pertinent testimony. The United States Supreme Court has fully sanctioned the state’s use of these less costly proceedings, with limited due process requirements. Probation revocation hearings, by contrast, require that proceedings be conducted in a courtroom before a judge, with an assistant state attorney prosecuting the case, and generally an appointed public defender representing the offender, plus all other expenses attendant to a criminal proceeding, at much greater expense to the state.
In 2004, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee best summarized the Commission’s history and responsibilities by writing that there was “no stable mechanism for managing inmate reentry after the abolition of parole.” The report also stated that “prior to 1983, parole was the traditional mechanism for managing an inmate’s reentry into the community” and that historically, it was the Commission that ensured an inmate was ready for release, that he or she had a place to live, a job or solid job prospect, and the support of family and friends. Once the inmate was returned to the community, the parole officer monitored that release plan while supervising the parolee.
In 2005, the Legislature ordered an Office of Program Policy and Governmental Accountability (OPPAGA) study of the Commission. The OPPAGA study (OPPAGA Report 2006-15) concluded that “the Parole Commission operations are consistent with its mission” and stated that “regionalizing the Commission’s parole determinations function would distribute this workload across the state”, but would result in increased overall state costs. OPPAGA found that the Commission is successful in identifying low risk offenders for release.
|FY 2014-15 Commission Workload: Hours by Activity|
|Parole & Conditional Medical Release||18,577||11%|
|Conditional Release & Addiction Recovery Release||7,063||4%|
|TOTAL FY 14-15||168,480||100%|
|FY 2014-15 Commission Workload:
Hours by Activity
|Florida Commission on Offender Review
Fiscal Year 2014-15 Summary by Performance Measures/Activity/Accomplishments
|Number of parolees who successfully completed their supervision without revocation within the first two years.||47|
|Percentage of parolees who have successfully completed their supervision without revocation within the first two years.||94%|
|Number of revocation determinations.||1,753|
|Number of clemency cases completed.||6,121|
|Number of parole and conditional release decisions.*||1,338|
|Number of victims assists.||21,176|
|Number of conditional release/addiction recovery cases handled.*||7,390|
|Percentage of cases placed before the Parole Commission/Clemency Board containing no factual errors.||99%|
|Percentage of revocation cases completed within 90 days of final hearing.||99%|
|Percent of RCR With a Hearing cases provided to the Clemency Board containing no factual errors.||99%|
|Percent of RCR Without a Hearing cases provided to the Clemency Board containing no factual errors.||100%|
|*Number includes re-docketed cases.|