Joan has been writing professionally since 1988. She has written articles for publications such as Katy Magazine, eHow, and Triond.
Before Texas prisoners are placed on parole, they must first complete a minimum recommended jail sentence and gain approval for release from the parole board. In order to receive parole, potential parolees must agree to certain conditions in order to gain parole:
- They will remain under court supervision.
- They must meet regularly with their assigned parole officers.
- They must complete a specified number of hours of community service.
- They must obtain gainful employment.
In Texas, parole violations lead to a judge issuing a blue warrant that calls for the arrest of the parole violator. Blue warrants are so-named because, traditionally, they were issued in a blue jacket.
When Are Blue Warrants Issued?
They are usually issued whenever a parolee has been charged with a technical violation of parole by his or her parole officer. Technical violations include additional criminal offenses and failure to attend required meetings with the parole officer. In either of these two cases, the parolee will be arrested under the blue warrant and held until the judge determines the punishment for violating his or her parole.
Blue warrants can also be used to give "jail therapy" to a parolee who's headed for trouble but hasn't actually violated parole yet. Jail therapy is meant to give the parolee a few days to chill out and re-examine the alternatives to his or her current path.
What Happens When You're Arrested Under This Warrant?
When parolees are arrested under a blue warrant, they are entitled to a preliminary hearing. They also have the right to a revocation hearing, but not to bail. These parolees are allowed a written notice of the violations they allegedly committed and the evidence to back up the allegations.
At the hearing, they can call defense witnesses and cross examine prosecution witnesses. Their rights to representation is limited, however, and even then, revocation lawyers may or may not be able to reduce the punishment and get parole re-instated. It all depends on the violation(s) that caused the blue warrant to be issued in the first place.
There are three potential outcomes to a blue warrant hearing.
- First, the parole gets re-instated.
- Second, the parolee gets assigned to a halfway house or is given other intermediate changes to the terms of his or her parole.
- Finally, the parole is revoked and the parolee is returned to prison to serve out the remainder of the sentence.
Why Would Parole Be Revoked?
Reasons for revocation of parole include the following:
- The prisoner should never have gotten parole in the first place.
- The parolee committed another crime while out on parole.
- The parolee's actions while on parole cause him/her to be considered a "danger to society."
Problems With "Jail Therapy"
Increases in blue warrant arrests have led to an increase in the inmate population in county jails across Texas. Local sheriffs, in charge of the overcrowded local jails, complained that Texas State parole officers were misusing blue warrants for "jail therapy" and causing overpopulation in the county jails with parolees taking up valuable bed space.
The local sheriffs contended that the non-violent parolees who had committed only minor parole infractions should be allowed to be released on bail while awaiting their parole hearings. They also contended that those parolees with only minor infractions could end up losing their jobs, which could lead to a more crucial parole violation.
The Texas Sheriffs Association endorsed a bill, which Governor Rick Perry vetoed in 2007, that would have allowed judges to issue bonds or bail requests for blue warrant parolees. The reasoning for his veto was that Texas' top 10 fugitives (who were all blue warrant violators at the time) would have been eligible for bail while awaiting their parole hearings. Since at least some of the parolees are considered flight risks, this law is not likely to be modified any time soon.
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Parole Division: Warrants
Home page for the Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
- Texas Criminal Justice Coalition: Parole Summons Fact Sheet
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Julie on May 30, 2019:
My husband was wrongly accused for tampering with a witness which was dismissed. He is now waiting in jail for the PBH answer. Now that he agreed to waive his hearing rights because the parole officer said it would move things faster, the parole is stating he has three technical violations before he went to jail for this charge. I have signed papers proving he showed up. So why are they doing this? If the prisons and jails are full and our jail is double due to another county getting shut down, then why hold him? What are they trying to prove here?
B on May 07, 2018:
My boyfriend got arrested the day before he got released on parole caught a new charge parently he's not on parole no more they signed his papers and he's off but how long does it take for a blue warrant to be taken off cuz he's already been in there for a month and then we weren't still hasn't came off how long does it take
Michelle on March 21, 2017:
My son had his parole revoked over a month ago and is still sitting in county jail waiting for his blue warrant to be lifted so he can go to TDC. Each office contacted blames it on another office saying it is not their responsibility to lift it.
His parole was a joke from the beginning. He had a job less than 2 weeks after getting out of prison and he lost it because his parole officer made him take off or go in late because she wanted him in her office 3 or 4 days a week. She could have had him come in one full day to get everything she needed taken care of and he would still have his job.
Marcos on December 04, 2016:
I am currently on parole i receieved a New Felony charge Thursday del of cs
1 to 4 grms 2nd degree felony i called my P.O after i bonded out friday explained the situation that the drugs where found in the car not on my possession and the where two other suspects in the vehicle. ..She wants me to Meet her in the office monday for a U.A an a visit im scared shes gonna arrest me on a Blue warrant for receiving a new felony charge but she said she WASN'T she called it "Continued supervision pending revocation upon conviction" ....does this sound true or just a hoax to get me to come in so she can arrest me? Please help....
Joan Whetzel (author) on August 30, 2012:
Yeah, Texas is tough on its parolees. I think it's meant to keep them on the straight and narrow so they don't land back in prison. I can't tell if it's working or not.
Ausseye on August 28, 2012:
Hi Joanwiz: An interesting read as I always thought Texas was an outlaw state. Sound like parolees have a ‘blue’ ( Australian word meaning fight) with the State Legal System and come out with a loss. Sad to hear as making it after prison is really, really hard anyway- used to work with ex-prisoners so know the hardships.
Joan Whetzel (author) on August 23, 2012:
Yeah, it's truly an expensive proposisition. Getting out of trouble ain't cheap.
Angela Blair from Central Texas on August 21, 2012:
I've only recently become aware of what a money-grubbing, unrealistic situation being a parolee in the State of Texas entails. It's beyond me how anyone can pay the fees/costs assorted with being on parole in the first place -- I think I'd just give up and go to prison before I went bankrupt trying to pay the State's ridiculous fees. Good Hub -- Best/Sis