The Parole Division strives to provide quality legal representation and advocacy to citizens in the District of Columbia who are facing a loss of liberty through revocation of their parole or supervised release for alleged violations of their conditions of release. Each year, the division’s lawyers represent hundreds of individuals at administrative hearings before the U.S. Parole Commission (Parole Commission). In some select cases, the division also files direct administrative appeals on behalf of our clients to the Parole Commission Appeals Unit.
The division’s goal is to secure guaranteed constitutional, statutory, and regulatory protections in every case and to minimize the impact of potentially harsh punitive sanctions. The lawyers also advocate for the Parole Commission to expand the use of alternative sanctions other than incarceration, such as mental health, substance abuse treatment, and related diversion programs. Parole attorneys also draft and propose statutory changes and amendments to the federal regulations that govern the revocation process. Moreover, the division provides advocacy on behalf of persons on supervision with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency in D.C. and federal probation offices supervising returning citizens in other jurisdictions.
The Parole Division also supports and trains other divisions within PDS on parole and supervised release matters, provides trainings to the local defense bar and pro bono attorneys, and gives advice and assistance to the public and attorneys through our Duty Day program.
The division’s lawyers also train and supervise law students in criminal justice clinics at local area law schools, as well as train and supervise summer law clerks from law schools across the country who are accepted into the summer program through an application process. The division is highly selective of its law clerks who have the unique opportunity to provide direct representation under the close supervision of a division attorney. Law clerks also have the exciting opportunity to develop litigation skills, including cross-examinations of adverse witnesses, direct examinations of voluntary witnesses, and presenting closing arguments on behalf of clients.