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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148666 Find in a Library
Title: Parole in Transition: Evaluating the Impact and Effects of Changes in the Parole System -- Phase one Establishing the Baseline
Author(s): R Hood; S Shute
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 96
Sponsoring Agency: University of Oxford
Oxford, 0X2 6LH, England
Publication Number: ISBN 0-947811-04-4
Sale Source: University of Oxford
Centre for Criminological Research
12 Bevington Road
Oxford, 0X2 6LH,
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This report records the views and experiences of long- term prisoners in England and Wales who had been subject to review for parole under the old parole system in place prior to enactment of the Criminal Justice Act of 1991.
Abstract: Under provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, prisoners sentenced after October 1, 1992, would only be subject to discretionary release if they were serving sentences of 4 years or more, they would have to serve half of their sentence rather than a third before being eligible for consideration by the Parole Board, new criteria were introduced to protect the public, and new procedural safeguards were created for prisoners. To study parole decisionmaking, 16 meetings of Parole Board panels were observed at which 383 long-term determinate cases (those serving 4 years or more) were dealt with. In addition, 201 inmates serving determinate sentences of 4 years or more were interviewed for about an hour at five prisons. At the same prisons, 54 prison officers and 20 probation officers were also interviewed. Findings indicated that, in general, inmates knew very little about how the parole system worked, despite information available to them in the Prisoners' Information Pack. A significant number of prisoners (72 percent) thought someone other than prison staff should be available to help them prepare their case for parole. With no communication from the Parole Board, prisoners did not understand why they had been refused. Two-thirds of the prisoners felt that the time they waited for parole review outcome was unreasonable. Only a small number of prisoners (16 percent) recognized that their chances of obtaining parole would be improved if they participated in constructive prison activities. Interviews rated most highly by inmates were those conducted by probation officers. Half of the inmates said they thought the new parole system would be better in most respects. Many inmates approved of a parole system for long-term prisoners but wanted improvements related to a hearing, a time limit on parole decisionmaking, and more generous parole use. Staff interviews revealed considerable variation between prison and probation officers with respect to factors involved in assessing an inmate's suitability for parole. Prison and probation officers reported overwhelming support for the new parole system. The composition and operation of the Parole Board are examined. 119 footnotes and 21 tables
Main Term(s): Corrections in foreign countries
Index Term(s): Criminology; England; Foreign correctional systems; Foreign inmates; Foreign laws; Foreign probation or parole services; Parole eligibility; Probation or parole decisionmaking; Wales
Note: Occasional Paper No. 13
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