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NCJ Number: 220756 Find in a Library
Title: Employ Behavioral Contracting for "Earned Discharge" Parole
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:807-814
Author(s): Joan Petersilia
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 8
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis; Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In order to change the prevalent pattern of "release and return to prison" for parolees, this paper proposes a revised contract with parolees that includes "earned discharge" or accelerated release, whereby parolees can reduce the length of their parole term by demonstrating arrest-free behavior and self-sufficiency.
Abstract: Current parole contracts focus on specifying the requirements for parolees' behavior while on parole and the punitive sanctions that will be applied if these requirements are violated. In order to foster long-term behavioral change, a balance of rewards and sanctions is necessary for prosocial behavioral change. For most parolees, discharge from parole is a major goal. Linking the shortening of the parole period with positive behavior can reduce reoffending and the violation of other parole requirements, such as remaining in treatment. The author has conducted dozens of interviews with parolees over the past several years, which have included asking them what might motivate them to enroll in rehabilitation programs and continue to attend. One of the consistently strong motivators is the prospect of being released from parole supervision. Parole terms should not only prohibit reoffending but also require participation in prescribed prosocial activities. Offenders who complete such activities as drug treatment or educational programs should be rewarded with a reduction in the length of their parole. The parole contract should include precise statements about how much time will be reduced from the parole term by successful participation in specified activities as well as for remaining arrest-free for indicated lengths of time. Every parolee should be on parole for at least 6 months, since recidivism studies consistently show that parolees at high risk of reoffending will do so quickly. 35 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Incentive systems; Parole; Parole casework; Parole conditions; Parole effectiveness; Parole supervision; Parolees; Probation or parole services; Research uses in policymaking
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