Biden Gives Rep. Norton Opportunity to Recommend Candidates for U.S. Parole Commission

President Biden has authorized Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to recommend candidates to be Commissioners serving on the U.S. Parole Commission (USPC). Commissioners are appointed by the President and must be confirmed by the Senate.

Rep. Norton has announced that her office will be accepting applications until 6:00 p.m. on November 11, 2021. Applications consist of a resume and letter of interest outlining the applicant’s qualifications and the reason the applicant wants the position, and must be sent to

Congressional funding for the USPC is scheduled to come to an end in November 2022. The ReThink Justice New Visions Committee, as well as others DC activists, have been advocating for DC control of the parole function for several years. However, District officials have failed to take effective action to put a DC parole function in place prior to the expiration of the USPC’s current funding.

Tammy Seltzer, Director, DC Jail & Prison Advocacy Project
Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services, pointed out that there is nothing barring people with lived experience from serving on the USPC. She urges that any new Commissioners must be DC residents and, at a minimum, at least one new Commissioner must be a formerly incarcerated person.

Rep. Norton’s announcement would seem to indicate that new funding will be coming from Congress to continue the USPC beyond 2022. It’s unclear how many years of funding that might be, but DC advocates would mostly agree that no more than one more year of USPC funding should be authorized.

There is no way to predict say how development will impact the establishment of a parole function under DC control, but it’s hard to image that it will motivate DC officials to move fast to establish local control of the parole function.