The Kansas Prisoner Review Board will meet in Hays next month to gather public comments regarding inmates scheduled for parole hearings through October.
The comment session will be from 9 to 11 a.m. April 25 in Courtroom 1 of the Ellis County District Courthouse, 1204 Fort.
Comment sessions are usually conducted monthly in Kansas City, Derby and Topeka but the three-member board also meets in Hays occasionally.
“They try to do that at least once a year so they can make it easier for other people on the western side of the state,” said Joseph Phillips, Prisoner Review Board administrator.
The comment sessions are open to the public. Inmates who are eligible for parole are listed at www.doc.ks.gov/prb/public-comment-sessions/Hays_Session.
Comments can be presented to the board verbally or written, along with supporting documents such as petitions.
“That is entirely up to them, the individual that wants to make a statement. If they want to write something out they are more than welcome to write it out and provide to the Prisoner Review Board at the public comment session and they will take it,” Phillips said.
“If they just want to come in and provide a verbal statement, they can do that as well,” he said.
Parole hearings are conducted at each correctional facility, depending on which inmates are up for parole. The board members meet with the inmate, a case manager and a parole officer, Phillips said.
“It’s very one-on-one, it’s a conversational atmosphere so they can talk about their conditioning, what happened, what their plans are,” he said.
The board usually makes its decision on granting parole within 30 days. There are 10 criteria set in state statute the board must consider in its decision.
Offenders can request where they would like to be paroled, but that is not a guarantee, Phillips said.
“They will have a plan that they are requesting to release to. It might be family, friends, whatever that may be.
There are situations where the board may take into consideration the previous offense and no return may be imposed. But for the most part, it’s based on the offender and where they’re most likely to be successful,” he said.