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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70809 Find in a Library
Title: Ten Years of Parole - Retrospect and Prospect
Author(s): J E H Williams
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 19
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The first 10 years of parole in England and Wales are critically examined with recommendations for improving certain aspects of the system and explanations for why certain aspects must remain.
Abstract: Generally, while there is no reason to be unduly critical of the English parole system, the way parole operates could be improved in several directions. For instance, it might be worth considering the division of the present national parole board into two regional boards of approximately 20 members. Delay in the parole decisionmaking process cannot be reduced unless the Home Office's central role is minimized or eliminated. There is no way of advancing the earliest date of parole consideration, but short sentences served partly in prison and partly in the community may result from the provisions of the Criminal Law Act 1977, which allow partially suspended sentencing. There is also little chance of increasing the current 60 percent parole rate. The proportion of parolees with very short licenses (less than 6 months) is falling, and the proportion of long licenses has increased because parole is being granted more readily to offenders with long sentences. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground between viewing parole as an administrative decision, made with the help of an independent element, and viewing it as a quasi-judicial decision, to be clothed with various 'due process' safeguards. A judicial model for parole would involve radical changes from the present system, with its part-time parole board members. More should be done to examine the discrepancies in parole recommendations, which occur both at the level of the parole board and at the local review committee level. The latter should be encouraged to hold regular meetings with members of the probation and aftercare committees and with local volunteer groups concerned with prisoners' spouses and families. Prison staff roles in formulating proposals relating to a prisoner's suitability for parole should be examined. Perhaps the prisoner could be invited to play a bigger part in the process of parole review before the case comes up for local review. However, submitting reasons for denying parole to the prisoner in question is not supported. Twelve footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): England; Parole; Parole board; Parole hearing; Probation or parole decisionmaking; Probation or parole services; Wales
Note: Presented at the sixth Denis Carroll Memorial Lecture, April 7th, 1978, at the University of Nottingham (England)
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