Understanding Options for Modifying Parole Conditions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Parole

At times, a specific parole condition may become unnecessary, burdensome, or interfere with the parolee’s employment prospects and/or rehabilitation.  The New Jersey Administrative Code sets forth the application process to the New Jersey State Parole Board through which a parolee may challenge the necessity and/or fairness of a specific condition of parole.

Following are answers to frequently asked questions about parole modification.

When May a Parolee Raise a Challenge to a Condition of Parole?

N.J.A.C. 10A:71–6.6 Modification of conditions provides:

(a) The appropriate Board panel or the Board may modify or vacate a condition of parole at any time for cause.

Who Does a Parolee Apply to When Seeking a Modification?

N.J.A.C. 10A:71–6.6 Modification of conditions provides:

(b) A parolee may apply to the appropriate Board panel or the Board at any time for modification or vacation of a condition of parole. A parole officer may apply to the appropriate Board panel or the Board at any time for modification or vacation of a condition of parole if the Board panel or the Board has reserved authority to modify or vacate the conditions of parole.

Where and to Whom Does the Parolee Submit an Application for Modification?

N.J.A.C. 10A:71–6.6 Modification of conditions provides:

(c) Such application shall be submitted by the District Parole Supervisor or the designated representative of the Commission at the request of either the parolee or the parolee’s parole officer and shall contain the recommendation of the officer and the District Parole Supervisor or the designated representative of the Commission, as appropriate, accompanied by supporting documentation.

Can Parole Conditions be Changed?

The New Jersey State Parole Board’s “The Parole Book, 5th Edition, simply indicates:

Yes. The Board panel can change your conditions at any time for good reason. The Board also has given the power to the District Parole Supervisors, Assistant District Parole Supervisors and designated representatives of the District Parole Supervisors to impose and discharge special conditions of parole. If you want a condition changed, you may apply to the appropriate Board panel through the District Parole Supervisor. Before the Board panel makes a decision in your case, it will seek the recommendation of your parole officer and the District Parole Supervisor. The Board panel will notify you of its decision through the District Parole Supervisor. 

See: The Parole Book, A Handbook on Parole Procedures for Adult and Young Adult Inmates, Fifth Edition, Section E26, at page 18.

May a Parolee Challenge an Application for Modifications of Conditions Submitted by a Parole Officer?

N.J.A.C. 10A:71–6.6 Modification of conditions provides:

(d) If the application is not submitted at the parolee’s request, the parolee shall be notified in writing of the proposed modification or vacation prior to submission of the application to the Board panel.

(e) The parolee may submit written comments regarding the application to the Board panel; however, such comments must be received within 15 days of the application.

What is the Timeframe for the Board Panel to Issue a Decision from an application to Modify Conditions of Parole?

(f) The Board panel shall consider such application and notify the District Parole Supervisor or the designated representative of the Commission, as appropriate, in writing of the decision within 45 days of the receipt of the application.

(g) The District Parole Supervisor or the designated representative of the Commission, as appropriate, shall notify the parolee in writing of any modification or vacation of a condition of parole and shall cause a written record of such modification or vacation to be made in the parolee’s case file.

How Does a Parolee Establish “Cause” for a Modification of a Condition of Parole?

There is no formal template for filing an application for a modification of a condition of parole. When framing an argument that a specific condition or conditions require modification everything comes down to context, need, and reasonableness. Applications are fact intensive. The following questions should be considered and, if relevant, addressed in the application:

– Is the condition sought for modification directly related to the crime for which the parolee was convicted?

– How does the condition impact the parolees’ ability to secure gainful employment?

– Does the condition impact on a parolees’ ability to satisfy job requirements?

– Does the condition impact a parolees’ ability to secure an appropriate residence?

– Does the condition impact a parolees’ ability to form productive social relationships?

– Does the condition actually interfere with rehabilitation?

– Is there an alternative (i.e., “a least restrictive alternative”) that can satisfy the concerns of the Parole Board while reducing the burden on the parolee?

– Can the parolee obtain the support of the Parole Officer assigned to supervise the parolee in recommending the proposed modification?

– Are there people in the community, such as family, friends, or employers who can provide simple letters that would support and explain the need for a modification?

Challenging Conditions of Parole that Bar Access to Computers and the Internet

This has become a frequent issue in cases involving sex offenses and offenses where computers have played a role in the underlying crime.  Computers and the internet are ever present in our society. Our society has become more and more dependent on computers and internet access for access to news, for access to government services, the courts, for applying for employment, performing tasks required by an employer, and to participate in the 21st century workforce. In the age of COVID, when more and more employers have established remote work environments, access to computers and the internet have become front and center.

Federal and State Courts have recognized the pervasive nature of computers and the internet in our society and have recognized a compelling right of access.  That does not mean that access is absolute, it does mean that prior to imposing a condition of “no access” there must be a clear rational basis and the limitation is structured in the least restrictive manner.

Every Parole Modification Case is Unique

Each conviction, each parolee, each parole condition, each Parole Officer, each Parole Supervisor are unique. There is no simple or uniform template or formula to review when applying for a modification of a condition for parole.  The application must be framed to assure the Parole Board that the modification of a parole condition is reasonable, logical, will not impact the safety of the public, and will not create a situation that will lead to a violation of any other condition of parole.

If you would like to speak with an experienced criminal lawyer Eric Marcy, Esq. of Lyons & Associates has extensive experience handling parole modification cases. To discuss your options to apply for a modification of parole conditions, contact Mr. Marcy by phone at 908-575-9777 (o) or 908-581-2388 (c) or submit an online inquiry.

Additional Resources about Parole Modification

For resources relevant to these issues, visit here.

N.J.A.C. 10A:71-6.6

J.B. v. N.J. State Parole Bd., 433 N.J. Super. 327, 341 (App. Div. 2013), certif. denied, 217 N.J. 296 (2014);

United States v. King, 604 3d 125, 137 (3d Cir. Pa. 2010), cert. den. 562 U.S. 1223 (2011);

United States v. Andrus, 483 F3d 711, 718 (10th Cir. 2007);

United States v. Pruden, 398 F3d 241, 248-250 (3rd Cir. 2005);

United States v. Lifshitz, 369 F3d 173, 190 (2d Cir. 2004);

Trulock v. Freeh, 275 F3d 391, 403, 404 (4th Cir. 2001);

United States v. Voelker, 489 F3d 139, 151 (3rd Cir. 2007);

United States v. Loy, 237 F3d 251, 265-267 (3rd Cir. 2001);

18 U.S.C. § 1029; 18 U.S.C. §1030;

18 U.S.C § 2241, et. seq.; 18 U.S.C. §2251, et. seq.

Lori McPherson, The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) at 10 Years: History, Implementation, and the Future, 64 Drake L. Rev. 741, 789 (2016);

Laura Tatelman, Note, Give Me Internet or Give Me Death: Analyzing the Constitutionality of Internet Restrictions as a Condition of Supervised Release for Child Pornography Offenders, 20 Cardozo J.L. & Gender 431, 442 (2014);

Note, Recent Case: Criminal Law – Supervised Release – Third Circuit Approves Decade-Long Internet Ban for Sex Offender, 123 Harv. L. Rev. 776, 779 (2010);

Note, Recent Case: Criminal Law – Supervised Release – Third Circuit Approves Decade-Long Internet Ban for Sex Offender, 123 Harv. L. Rev. 776, 779 (2010);