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United States Parole Commission

The United States Parole Commission is the parole board responsible to grant or deny parole and to supervise those released on parole to incarcerated individuals who come under its jurisdiction.[1] It is part of the United States Department of Justice.

The commission has jurisdiction over:

  1. Persons who committed a Federal offense before November 1, 1987
  2. Persons who committed a D.C. Code offense before August 5, 2000
  3. Persons who committed a Uniform Code of Military Justice offense and are parole-eligible
  4. Persons who are serving prison terms imposed by foreign countries and have been transferred to the United States to serve their sentence[1]

Additionally, the Commission has the responsibility to supervise two additional groups for whom they do not have parole jurisdiction:

  1. Persons who committed a D.C. Code offense after August 4, 2000
  2. Persons who have been placed on probation or paroled by a state that have also been placed in the United States Federal Witness Protection Program.[1]


  • History 1
  • Commissioners 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Initially known as the United States Board of Parole,[2] the board had three members and was established by legislation on May 13, 1930 as an independent board. As a result of an order of the Attorney General, the Board began reporting directly to him in August 1945. Further legislation was passed on September 30, 1950 which placed the Board under the Department of Justice.[3]

Congress passed the Parole Commission and Reorganization Act which took effect in May 1976. The Board was re-titled the United States Parole Commission. The Act also incorporated the regions that had been established by a prior pilot project, required explicit guidelines for decision making, required written rejections, and established an appeal process. The Comprenhensive Crime Control Act of 1984 brought major changes to the Commission. While preserving the Commission's jurisdiction over persons who committed offenses prior to November 1, 1987, it established determinate sentences for federal crimes; thus federal prisoners after that date are not eligible for parole consideration.[3]

Although the Commission was to be abolished in 1992, the life of the Commission was extended by the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, the Parole Commission Phaseout Act of 1996, and the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act of 2002. The 1996 act required the Attorney General to report annually beginning in 1998 on whether the Commission remained cost effective. The 2002 act extended the life of the commission until November 2005.[3]

The United States Parole Commission Extension and Sentencing Commission Authority Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-76, 119 Stat. 2035, again extended the life of the USPC until November 2008.

The "United States parole Commission Extension Act of 2008," Pub. L. No. 110-312, 122 Stat 3013, extended the life of the USPC until November 2011.

The "United States Parole Commission Extension Act of 2011," Pub. L. No. 112–44, 125 Stat. 532, extended the life of the USPC until November 2013.[4]

The United States Parole Commission Extension Act of 2013 (H.R. 3190; 113th Congress) passed the House and the Senate during the Fall of 2013. If signed by the President, the bill will extend the life of the USPC until November 2018.[5]


Name Position Appointed By Year Appointed
J. Patricia Wilson Smoot Acting Chairman Barack Obama 2010
Cranston J. Mitchell Vice Chairman George W. Bush 2003
Patricia K. Cushwa Commissioner George W. Bush 2004
Charles T. Massarone Commissioner Barack Obama 2012[6]

Commissioner Smoot became Acting Chairman upon the retirement of Commissoner Isaac Fulwood, Jr. on January 30, 2015. Commissioner Mitchell was re-appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009.[7]


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External links

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