A parole hearing is a hearing to determine whether an inmate should be released on parole. Only inmates sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole receive parole hearings. An example of a life sentence with the possibility of parole is when an inmate is sentenced to serve a term of "15 years to life."
Inmates serving life sentences with the possibility of parole are automatically eligible for a parole hearing 13 months prior to their "minimum eligible parole date." An inmate's "minimum eligible parole date" is the earliest possible date they can be released, based on their sentence. Just because an inmate has been scheduled for a parole hearing does not mean he or she will be released on parole. The Board of Parole Hearings will determine whether inmates are suitable for parole. Inmates sentenced to life with the possibility of parole are not guaranteed to parole and can be held in prison for life.
Many inmates have several parole hearings before they are found suitable for release. Inmates serving a life sentence can be denied parole for 3, 5, 7, 10, or 15 years.
A life inmate may submit a written request to the BPH to advance his or her parole suitability hearing to an earlier date if there is a change in circumstances or new information. If you are the registered victim or victim's next of kin, the BPH will notice you by mail and include a copy of the BPH form 1045(B) which you may use to submit your written views and comments for consideration by the BPH. For more information, visit the BPH web page
Only victims, victims' next-of-kin, or immediate family members may attend parole hearings. One support person may accompany the victim or family member to the hearing. Support persons are not permitted to participate in the hearing. Victims and their families also may choose to designate someone to be their representative at the hearing who will speak on their behalf. Please be aware that many hearing rooms are relatively small and, therefore, the number of individuals allowed to attend the hearing may be limited.
Lifer Parole Unit
303 W. 3rd Street, 3rd Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415
or via email: