Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

Parole Release & Revocation Overview

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Parole Release and Revocation Overview

The Robina Institute Parole Release and Revocation research initiative began in early 2014. The Parole Release and Revocation research team examines and analyzes the components and framework of parole release and revocation decision-making across the United States. This initiative is committed to engaging paroling authorities in both indeterminate and determinate sentencing states in examining all elements of the discretionary parole release and post-release violations process. An important goal of the research is to contribute to the enhancement of decision-making at every stage.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation: Examining the Legal Framework in the United States

Work is currently underway by the Parole Release and Revocation research team to write and publish comprehensive state and federal legal profiles. Each profile offers a concise overview of the statutory authority and jurisdiction of releasing authorities across the United States. As they are completed, the jurisdiction legal profiles will be posted on the Robina Institute’s website. The Robina Institute has also recently published, By the Numbers: Parole Release and Revocation Across 50 States, by former Robina Institute Fellow Mariel E. Alper. The data profiles in this report provide a statistical summary of the relationships over time between prison and parole supervision populations in each state.

A goal of the Parole Release and Revocation Project is to engage paroling authorities across the country to enhance the quality of their decision-making at every stage.

The Continuing Leverage of Releasing Authorities: Findings from a National Survey

The  Robina Institute is pleased to present The Continuing Leverage of Releasing Authorities: Findings from a National Survey, a comprehensive report of the findings from our 2015 national survey of paroling authorities. The report details the responses from releasing authorities about parole release and revocation practices across the United States. The findings from this report offer a timely and invaluable resource for releasing authorities and other key criminal justice system stakeholders. It allows for a comparative understanding of their colleagues’ work across the nation, and contributes to a larger conversation pertaining to sound and effective parole release and revocation practices. 

The Robina Institute launched the national survey of releasing authorities in March 2015. The survey went to each state and the U.S. Parole Commission. The importance of the survey was underscored by an endorsement from the Association of Paroling Authorities International (APAI). The survey is broken into three sections: Section A: The Structure and Administration of Releasing Authorities; Section B: Information Systems and Statistical Information; and Section C: Issues and Future Challenges Facing Releasing Authorities. Section A asks releasing authorities to complete information pertaining to the sentencing framework in which they work, as well as their structure, administrative operations, release decision- making, parole or post-release supervision, and violations and revocation processes. Section B asks for data pertaining to releasing authority activities, the presence of an Information Technology System, the use of statistical reports, and how the parole board relies on such information in its policies and major areas of decision-making. Finally, Section C asks that releasing authority chairs themselves identify and share their views on the issues and challenges they presently confront, along with the future trends they believe will impact their work. Additionally, the chairs are asked for their recommendations for improving or reforming the conduct of parole. 

On-Site Collaboration

The Parole Release and Revocation Project is working with several releasing authorities to assist in designing and implementing reform proposals tailored to enhance release and revocation policies and practices. The project recently conducted a site visit to a paroling state and is collaborating with the jurisdiction to identify a potential area of study and change. Though the scope of the project is not yet finalized, it is expected that it involve the examination of the following research question: Why do releasing authority and parole board members concur or depart from the release recommendations furnished by the present guidelines system in place, and how can this process be improved? The goal of this project will be to enhance releasing authority members’ capacity to release candidates who will be successful, and improve their ability to rely on the release recommendations. This initiative will gather both quantitative and qualitative data as it moves forward in the months to come. 

Parole and Release Revocation Advisory Council

The Parole and Release Revocation Advisory Council is comprised of representatives from the U.S. Parole Commission, the Association of Paroling Authorities International (APAI), releasing authorities, the National Parole Resource Center (NPRC), and the academic and public policy community. This distinguished Advisory Council provides professional guidance and feedback on Parole Release and Revocation research.