Parole Information Project

This collection contains documents relevant to the denial and grant of parole in New York State.

There are approximately 35,000 people serving sentences in New York State prisons. Over 18,000 individuals are serving indeterminate sentences, that allow for the possibility of parole after service of the minimum, but may remain incarcerated until the maximum is served—this is 38% of the total prison population. Over 8,000 men and women are serving a sentence with a maximum of life, which means they may never be released (17% of the prison population). Every year, 12,000 incarcerated persons are considered for release to parole supervision by the Board of Parole, which includes an interview with two or three parole commissioners. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and approved by the state senate.

Approximately 1,000 individuals are serving life without parole or the functional equivalent who, under current law, will never be released.

Parole is denied to a large majority of parole applicants. A parole denial may be challenged via an administrative appeal to the Board of Parole’s Appeals Unit, and--if unsuccessful--via an Article 78 petition pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, filed in a county Supreme Court with venue.

A successful appeal results in an annulment of the denial and a de novo interview and review. An unsuccessful challenge means the parole applicant must wait for the next regularly scheduled parole review. Such a review must take place no more than every two years.

Redactions: With the exception of Parole Administrative Appeal Decisions and NYS Supreme Court Decisions, which by law are publicly available, all other documents have been redacted to protect privacy and marked with codes assigned locally to the individuals seeking parole.

Metadata Availability: The metadata from each of these collections may be obtained in Excel format for research and analysis purposes. All requests should be sent to Professor Martha Rayner at


Browse the Parole Information Project Collections:

Parole Preparation & Appeal Resources

Reentry Resources

Parole File Documents

Parole Interview Transcripts and Decisions

Parole Administrative Appeal Documents

Article 78 Litigation Documents

Habeas Litigation Documents

Additional Resources