The Department of Parole Operations is responsible for guiding people coming out of prison on their journey to re-entry. In addition to keeping tabs on someone, the parole officer has the power to return them to prison for violating the terms of their parole conditions. However, this power is often abused and the behavior of parole officers can be inconsistent and unpredictable. When a situation happens, we often cannot hold them accountable—there is no accountability process that doesn't come with the threat of retaliation. If we try to speak out about our situation, we are often subjected to even more surveillance and incarceration.
This looming threat of re-incarceration causes high levels of stress for people navigating the parole system. This makes the transition into the community difficult for already vulnerable people.
Project Protocol is an Android and iPhone app that allows you to rate and view the ratings of your parole officer. It allows you to predict the behavior of your parole officer and better prepare yourself for this new relationship.
All ratings are anonymous and we store and use your data based on our Ethical Principles. Rating questions include: "How helpful is your parole officer?" "Do you feel respected?" "Does this person care about your well being"?
Currently, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) allows people to submit a CDCR602 for redress of grievances. However, this appeal process, managed by CDCR, has been found to be ineffective by academic studies. It does not keep people safe.
Anonymous ratings, on the other hand, means that you can feel safe about rating and reviewing their parole officers. These ratings can inform others in the community on ways to keep themselves safe from unpredictable behavior.
We are partnering with people and organizations aligned with our principles to turn data into action. If you want to work with us to hold the parole system accountable for its harms and bring justice to the community, read our Ethical Principles and contact us.
During his sentence, he noticed that most non-English speakers in his Latin American community didn't have the resources to fight for reentry.
Because of this, Emiliano translated court letters. He did legal research for Spanish speakers. He helped fellow peers understand their rights. While incarcerated, Emiliano received paralegal and civil litigation certificates.
Following his release in 2016, Emiliano was eager to start fresh. He was looking forward to receiving support services from his new parole officer.
Instead, the parole officer's actions hindered his success, arriving for a visit unannounced. The officer threatened Emiliano's job security by demanding him to leave early or arrive late to appease the officer’s schedule. The officer denied Emiliano travel to in-state professional events, conferences, or to work outside of 50 miles, and repeatedly denied trips with family. These actions threatened Emiliano's ability to advance in his career and have meaningful time with his family.
Frustrated and eager to learn what others were experiencing, Emiliano turned to social media and asked his formerly-incarcerated community for information about his assigned officer.
Their feedback was validating and enlightening. It helped him to better navigate this vulnerable relationship and advocate for himself. He learned that others struggled with his parole officer and several others, but couldn’t safely speak out for fear of retaliation. Thus, the idea for Project Protocol was born.