Prison Release

The Robina Institute seeks to examine how discretionary powers of release interact with the rules, statutes, and laws that create the various systems of prison release in each state. We work with state Departments of Correction and parole boards to map out how prison releases get made, identify process areas to streamline or improve, and provide post-intervention assessments. Our research pinpoints which release levers can be targeted to produce reductions in prison populations while maintaining public safety.


For most individuals who receive a prison sentence, the amount of time they will serve in prison is somewhat unpredictable because of officials’ discretionary capacity to exercise “back-end” release decisions, including parole release…
“Indeterminacy” is the product of uncertainty, after a judge has pronounced a prison sentence, about later official decisions that will influence the actual time served by the defendant. The uncertainty extends over many future decisions,…
Indeterminacy in prison sentences refers to the unpredictability of the actual length of time that will be served in prison compared to the length of the sentence pronounced by the judge. It reflects the degree to which back-end…