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NCJ Number: 115020 Find in a Library
Title: Parole Decisionmaking: A Comparative Analysis
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:32  Issue:3  Dated:(December 1988)  Pages:233-247
Author(s): E Metchik
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 14
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The research literature on parole decisionmaking contains numerous inconsistencies across studies concerning the relative influence of legal, institutional and socioeconomic background variables on board members' actions.
Abstract: In part, this can be traced to methodological differences in defining and conceptualizing the variables, especially the dependent (outcome) measures. More recently, however, several studies highlighted the importance of parole board members' decision goals as a factor mediating information use. This paper proposes that the sentencing structure and the amount of discretion it affords decisionmakers may have a profound influence on both decision goals and data selection. The first section reviews the literature in terms of a framework emphasizing two main goals: retributive evaluations of present offense severity and risk predictive assessments of post-release behavior. The results are next presented from an empirical study that contrasted two systems (in Israel and a northeastern American State) which differed greatly in their sentencing structures and the amount of discretion exercised by parole decisionmakers. The findings confirmed selective emphases on retributive evaluations in the jurisdiction with wide discretion and risk assessment in the jurisdiction of constricted discretion. In the final section, the implications of these results are discussed, especially concerning the design of bail, sentencing and parole guidelines that attempt to combine retributive and risk assessment elements. (Author abstract)
Main Term(s): Probation or parole decisionmaking
Index Term(s): Corrections decisionmaking; Parole board discretion; US/foreign comparisons
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