CPCS PAROLE ADVOCACY UNIT

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICANTS FOR WINTER CERTIFICATION TRAINING

CPCS is now accepting applications for private counsel who wish to join the specialized parole release and revocation panel. Attorneys on this panel provide critical and innovative assistance to certain incarcerated people who face the informal and daunting parole process. Counsel provides continuity of representation, including post hearing release planning and further assistance in the event of a parole denial. Representation may include administrative appeal and related civil litigation in superior court. Most of these individuals have been referred to CPCS due to disabilities or access issues that require counsel to ensure a fair and meaningful opportunity for parole release. Join us in this emerging area of law as we help ensure that disabled and incarcerated people get the fairness and due process they deserve.

Most cases are compensated at the superior court rate, with occasional district court rate cases. Qualified counsel may also separately apply to handle life sentence parole matters (see below).

Minimum requirements for applying for nonlifer parole cases (district and superior court rate):

  • At least two years of experience working as lead counsel with indigent clients in any of the following practice areas: criminal trial, juvenile delinquency, SORB/SDP, mental health litigation, medical parole, and appeals
  • Access to transportation in order to appear in person for hearings at various institutions.
  • Commitment to sign up for duty days, and acceptance of resulting cases, at least four times per year, with the possibility of additional duty days on “standby” in the event of an influx of cases.
  • A dedication to working with people with disabilities, substance use disorder, and trauma histories
  • Capacity and willingness to accept time sensitive case assignments
  • Demonstrated experience crafting release plans and navigating social service resources.
  • Availability to complete online training consisting of prerecorded videos, quizzes, and live group sessions (to be held the afternoons of December 13 and 15)

Minimum requirements for applying for life sentence parole release and revocation cases (murder rate):

  • All of the above, except that nonlifer duty days are optional though highly encouraged, PLUS
  • Murder or murder appeals certification OR
  • Handling of least 8 lifer or nonlifer parole release or revocation cases OR 400 hours of parole release of revocation billing.**
  • Availability to commit to additional prerecorded videos, quizzes, and lifer release and revocation group sessions also held on the afternoons of December 13 and 15.

**Attorneys who have handled less than the required amount of parole release and revocation cases may apply later to handle lifer matters upon fulfillment of this requirement. Please do not apply for lifer assignments unless the above criteria have been met.

Additional highly sought qualifications:

  • Fluency in another language
  • Lived personal or familial experience with the criminal legal system or as a member of an overrepresented group within the criminal legal system
  • Experience working with interpreters both in and out of court
  • Administrative hearing experience
  • Experience utilizing experts

INTERESTED ATTORNEYS SHOULD FILL OUT THE APPLICATION AT THE LINK BELOW BY November 14th.

https://www.cognitoforms.com/CommitteeForPublicCounselServices/Winter2022ParoleReleaseAndRevocationCertificationTrainingApplication

Note: to submit your application, you must press Submit, on the bottom left below the signature. If you are not able to complete the application in one sitting you may press the Save button on the bottom right, and you will receive a link to use when you are ready to complete the application.

**Attorneys in need of disability accommodation to complete the application process should please contact mvoukydis@publiccounsel.net**


ABOUT THE PAROLE ADVOCACY UNIT

The Parole Advocacy Unit of the Private Counsel Division works to bolster successful reentry through advancing the rights of people who have the opportunity for parole and medical parole release. Responsible for assigning all parole and medical parole cases across the Commonwealth, the unit trains and supports specialized attorneys. The unit also screens cases in order to ensure that all those who have a right to counsel have access to a lawyer. That group includes juvenile lifers, certain people facing parole revocation, and prisoners with disabilities who require assistance to access a fair hearing.

DIRECTOR
Mara Voukydis, Esq.
617-482-6212

STAFF COUNSEL
Nicole Ouellette, Esq.
617-482-6212

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT III
Sadia Ahmad
617-482-6212

How to Get Help
Incarcerated, formerly incarcerated people, and their loved ones can reach the Parole Advocacy Unit by calling CPCS’s main 617-482-6212 and asking for the parole unit. People who are not incarcerated can also email the unit at parole@publiccounsel.net

Letters can be sent to:

The Parole Advocacy Unit
Private Counsel Division
Committee for Public Counsel Services
75 Federal Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02110

Who We Can Help

The CPCS Parole Advocacy Unit assigns and supports lawyers in cases involving a right to counsel for parole, which includes the following groups of individuals:

  • Juvenile Lifers: People sentenced to life who committed the crime when they were juveniles (currently defined as under 18 years of age)
  • People with serious disabilities or access challenges referred by the Parole Board: People referred to CPCS by the Parole Board due to reasons of serious physical, mental, or cognitive disability, language access needs, or inability to read or write
  • Pending revocations referred by the Parole Board: People referred to CPCS by the Parole Board due to a pending parole revocation proceeding
  • Medical parole and medical parole revocation: Medical parole representation begins with a screening assignment and, where screened in, continues through the submission of a medical parole petition and representation upon denial of the petition, if necessary.
  • Disciplinary Hearings: In some cases, a prisoner’s disciplinary matter may be referred to the District Attorney for potential criminal charges. The Parole Advocacy Unit assigns counsel where possible to ensure preservation of the prisoner’s rights in the administrative setting prior to arraignment.

Even though the scope appears limited, our unit can also screen the following types of cases for possible assignment:

  • People with serious disabilities, language access issues, or inability to read or write who have not been referred by the Parole Board but whose condition will affect their ability to participate meaningfully in their parole proceedings.
  • People facing parole revocation who have not been referred by the Parole Board but whose case meets the requirements set for in Gagnon v Scarpelli, namely they dispute the revocation or have other reasons for needing counsel to assist.
  • Litigation of parole matters beyond the Parole Board proceeding: Though generally unable to assign counsel for litigation outside of routine appeals for juvenile lifers, people with serious disabilities, and certain parole revocation matters, the Unit is available to discuss and at times screen potential legal challenges on other parole matters or issues that impact someone’s parole eligibility.

Advice and Consultation

Although generally unable to assign lawyers for other purposes, staff and parole mentor attorneys are also available to consult with incarcerated or paroled callers, their loved ones, and lawyers from all practice areas about all other parole related matters. In some cases, the Unit may be able to advocate briefly on behalf of the client to the Parole Board or the Department of Correction, or advise the attorney on how to do so. Consultation topics include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Mandatory Release to Supervision (RTS)
  • Sentencing and parole eligibility concerns
  • Classification issues
  • Parole Conditions
  • Delays in parole release
  • Home plan problems
  • Concerns about conditions of confinement

PAROLE PANELS

The Parole Advocacy Unit manages several parole-related panels:

  • Juvenile Lifer Parole Panel – attorneys represent clients sentenced to life as juveniles who are facing parole release proceedings
  • Parole Release and Revocation Panel – attorneys represent people with determinate sentences in the House of Correction or Department of Correction who are either facing parole revocation or who are disabled and require assistance with parole release proceedings.
  • Lifer Parole Release and Revocation Panel – attorneys represent people with sentences sentences in the House of Correction or Department of Correction who are either facing parole revocation or who are disabled and require assistance with parole release proceedings.
  • Medical Parole Panel – attorneys screen medical parole cases and in the event the client has been screened in, petitions the Department of Correction for release on compassionate grounds due to terminal illness or permanent incapacity. These cases are both lifer and nonlifer, with lifer cases available for qualified attorneys.

 

HOW TO APPLY

Please see above for upcoming training certification opportunity for parole release and revocation. For attorneys interested in handling medical parole cases, please contact the unit at 617-910-5708.

PLEASE NOTE: Acceptance on the Juvenile Lifer Parole Panel, Lifer Parole Release Panel, and Medical Parole Panel (lifer cases) is contingent upon murder or murder appeals certification, or other comparable significant experience. Attorneys are welcome to contact the unit for more information about this.

TRAINING RESOURCES

Mygideon Parole Training Page – secure website accessible only to public defenders, both staff and private counsel, and related legal professionals. To request access please contact the unit.