Individuals sentenced to parole supervision for life for a sex offense often have questions concerning when they can petition to be release from their parole supervision. The short answer is 15 years after sentencing.
However, the 15-year clock to petition to be released from PSL gets re-started on the date that the petitioner is released from their last incarceration. Petitioners are often unsure if being incarcerated for a violation that is ultimately dismissed still re-starts the clock. It does not. Similarly, serving time for a violation that does not amount to a criminal offense does not re-start the clock. The more common scenario is that a potential petitioner serves several months for a PSL violation after a guilty plea or trial resulting in a conviction.
Regardless of how much time has passed after a PSL sentence is imposed, petitioners are still entitled to a hearing to contest the decisions of parole officers regarding the terms of PSL. The amount of time and performance on PSL during that time are factors that judges are required to consider.
The relevant portion of the PSL statute is as follows:
2C:43-6.4 Special Sentence of Parole Supervision for Life.
c. A person sentenced to a term of parole supervision for life may petition the Superior Court for release from that parole supervision. The judge may grant a petition for release from a special sentence of parole supervision for life only upon proof by clear and convincing evidence that the person has not committed a crime for 15 years since the last conviction or release from incarceration, whichever is later, and that the person is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others if released from parole supervision. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 22 of P.L.1979, a person sentenced to a term of parole supervision for life may be released from that parole supervision term only by court order as provided in this subsection.