Can you refuse parole?

Let us say that you go to prison. Doesn’t matter how long. You have a shot at parole. Let’s say that you just plain don’t mind prison. Maybe it’s not a max facility, maybe you just don’t care. Let’s say that you decide you don’t want to leave, or that maybe you don’t want to live with the constant checking by parole officers. Can you just refuse to leave? Say, “I’m not going to check in or live at the halfway houe so there’s no point.”? Or maybe you say, “You can let me go, but I’m going to punch you on the way out so I get time for assault.”

Since it’s always possible to sabotage your own parole hearing (“Oh, this? It means Die Bart Die… as in I’m going to kill Bart Simpson when I’m let out of here”), I don’t see why they wouldn’t allow you skip it altogether.

Zev Steinhardt

Ultimately, no. Being in prison is not a right; the government has the final say on who is incarcerated.

Here’s a realistic example of how it might work. Suppose due to prison overcrowding, the courts decide to release a bunch of non-violent drug users in order to imprison violent criminals. One of the drug-users might decide that prison isn’t that bad - free room and board, free health care, free cable - and not want to leave to go back out on the streets. But he would have no choice; if the legal system decides to reduce his sentence and release him from prison, he can’t refuse to go.

But that’s not the question. You’re right that a person can’t refuse to be released on a commutation of sentence; he can refuse to agree to the conditions of parole. For example, typically parolees must agree to report to a parole officer on a regular basis, advise the parole officer of his current address and any changes of that address, permit the officer to visit his residence at any reasonable time and consent to a search of his residence and person at the parole officer’s discretion, seek and maintain employment, participate in a substance abuse or mental health program, and/or not have any negative contact with law enforcement.

The vast majority of people find those conditions less onerous than prison. But a prisoner is free to refuse parole and remain incarcerated until his sentence is complete.

as pointed out this isnt the same as parole, there are people who would rather do 6 more months of time than spend the next 2 years dealing with a parole officer and all that nonsense.

There was a great news story in the 1980’s or early 1990’s about a middle-aged graduate student in mathematics in Ohio (bearded, unkempt - think Ted Kazinsky (sp.) as he was dragged from the woods) who murdered his professor/academic advisor with a hammer. The reason? The student couldn’t get his dissertation approved. After years in prison, the student refused parole/early release because the student would not agree to the parole board’s demand that conditions for release include the student agreeing to stay away from his former school! The student declined and stayed in prison for the full term of this sentence so that he would be under no restrictions upon his release. Bizarre, huh?

I thought you had to apply for parole. I always read about people like David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz and others and they will say something like, “feeling that trying for parole at this time would be a waste of his time, he decided not to even apply for it.”

The name of the murdered professor was Karel deLeeuw, for some details see http://histsoc.stanford.edu/pdfmem/deLeeuwK.pdf
It was in 1978. Another case I once read about concerned a convicted pedophile who asked to be castrated before he would accept parole and was refused. In that case, he said, he was certain to do it again and did not want to be released. Tragic case, is my take. He knew he would be unable to resist temptation and the authorities refused to do what was necessary to remove the compulsion. (I assume that without testicles, all sexual passion is gone.)

That is an incorrect assumption.

Here’s a related question:

As I understand it, parole is (in effect), an agreement between you and the people holding you in jail, that goes somewhat as follows:

“If you agree to do X, Y, and Z, we’ll let you out. If you don’t do X, Y, and Z, we’ll throw you back in jail. OK?”

Intuitively, I think that the conditions shouldn’t last any longer than the actual jail sentence you’re being paroled from.

But I’m not sure where I see that in my understanding of parole-if it’s at base an agreement, it can be whatever the two sides agree to. (say, after four years in prison, agreeing to be let out a year early in return for complying with the conditions of parole for two years). So, law-type people: is this possible, or am I just misunderstanding something?

I’d got the impression that in order to qualify for parole, you have to admit that you were guilty of the original crime. If that is the case, you’d simply have to refuse to admit your guilt to ensure you are not paroled (though I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to sabotage your parole hearing).