WASHINGTON (JTA) – Jonathan Pollard, who spied for Israel, is set to be released on parole on Nov. 21 unless the parole board objects, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement emailed to JTA on Saturday, July 25. “Under the laws in place at that time (and which are currently applicable to Pollard), a person with a life sentence is presumptively eligible for mandatory parole after 30 years unless the Parole Commission ‘determines that he has seriously or frequently violated institution rules or that there is a reasonable probability that he will commit any Federal, State, or local crime’,” it said. “Pollard is eligible for mandatory parole in November 2015.”
Nov. 21 marks 30 years since Pollard was first jailed and for years has been listed as his release date. Until mandatory parole kicks in, the burden is on the prisoner to show why he deserves parole. Pollard’s single application for parole, last year, failed. As of Nov. 21, however, the burden shifts to the parole commission to show why Pollard does not deserve parole. Pollard reportedly has been a model prisoner and his capacity for additional damage through revelations would be limited 30 years after he lost access to classified information. The Justice Department statement came after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration was preparing for his release. The Journal suggested that a factor for the Obama administration was its hope that Pollard’s release would smooth relations with Israel. U.S. officials adamantly denied that was the case.