Discretionary Parole Release

Collaborating with colleagues at the University of Minnesota Law School, we are examining discretionary parole release in the United States. The study is reviewing the institutional structures and composition of parole boards; the amount of discretion vested in parole releasing agencies; the use of risk assessment instruments for parole release; the prisoners’ procedural rights in the release process; the use of victim input into conditions of release; and variations in parole supervision conditions, length of supervision terms, and revocation policies. The results of this study were published in January 2016 by the University of Chicago Press as part of a volume titled Reinventing American Criminal Justice Systems.

This article, “Improving Parole Release in America,” co-authored by SCJC Faculty Co-Director Professor Joan Petersilia, is available here.

In addition, the Stanford Criminal Justice Center has undertaken research on parole decisionmaking for individuals serving life sentences with the possibility of parole in California, including reviewing California Board of Parole Hearing transcripts to analyze the relevant factors predicting release. For more information, see this article and this overview.