Parole Boards Are Worth Saving

By Hughes, Gail | Corrections Today, August 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Parole Boards Are Worth Saving


Hughes, Gail, Corrections Today


Can parole boards regain their place in the criminal justice system and are they worth saving? Sixteen states have abolished their boards of parole, leaving the boards with discretion over a diminishing group of inmates who were sentenced before release on discretionary parole was abolished. Many of the parole boards that remain have seen their authority reduced by very restrictive legislation. Reentry and community transition are the new terms being used instead of parole release. States are assigning reentry staff to develop and implement transition programs. In many of these states, the traditional role of parole boards is being overlooked or ignored. Parole boards can survive and are worth saving. However there are issues that need to be addressed.

Measurable Performance Standards

A merit-based, nonbiased selection of parole board members should be the standard. In addition, paroling authorities must recognize the need to be accountable to the public. One must have measurable standards by which they can judge the performance of parole boards. Last year, the Association of Paroling Authorities, International (APAI) adopted the following standards:

* The parole board shall develop a comprehensive policy and procedure manual available for public review.

* The parole board shall have a validated assessment instrument that is used in its decision-making process.

* A parole board shall have written guidelines that specify criteria for making release decisions.

* A parole board shall have a specific sex offender risk instrument that is used in decision-making.

* A parole board shall develop a code of ethics that each member shall sign as part of his or her appointment.

* A parole board shall have a policy in place that assures the rights of the victim to be heard and notified as part of the parole process.

* A parole board member shall have an initial orientation, which should include the Resource Kit for New Parole Members, followed by a minimum of 16 hours of in-service training each year.

Research

There is a lack of definitive, substantive research on the performance of paroling authorities. There is talk about "evidence-based practices," and most agree that movement should be made in this direction. However, development of evidence-based practices is difficult, if not impossible, because of the lack of evidence available. Repeatedly, state legislative bodies have enacted laws affecting the authority of parole boards--very few of which have been based upon or supported by substantive research. The impact of these statutes has been dramatic, costing billions, with taxpayers bearing the cost. One wonders, for example, who established the "85 percent" rule. Did those promoting the 85 percent time served legislation have substantive evidence that this standard would be effective in reducing recidivism? Laws such as the 85 percent statute have placed a priority on filling prison beds and have eliminated programs that could have an impact on the behavior of the offender once released. Would a requirement of 75 percent or 65 percent sentence served work just as well? There are those that present a convincing argument, supported by research, that the length of time spent in prison has nothing to do with how well an individual will perform once released. (1) It would be more appropriate that the decision to release should remain with a parole board, where a qualified body could review the facts and circumstances.

The APAI Parole Board Survey 2005 found 12 states that discretionarily paroled more than 50 percent and three states that paroled less than 12 percent of those released during 2005. (2) Looking at the releases in the 21 states reviewed in this survey, 48 percent were released discretionarily by paroling authorities; 21 percent were released by other means to supervision; and 31 percent were released without supervision.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Parole Boards Are Worth Saving
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.