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Giant That Never Woke: Parole Authorities as the Lynchpin to Evidence-Based Practices and Prisoner Reentry

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 25 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2009 Pages: 397-411
Mario A. Paparozzi; Roger Guy
Date Published
November 2009
15 pages
This essay argues that parole authorities should be prepared for and afforded the opportunity to optimally perform their discretionary release decisionmaking function in the context of improved and expanded prison-based rehabilitation and reentry programs and services.
Ideally, parole authorities should be leaders in promoting the public safety and justice potential of parole. Unfortunately, many parole authorities are not in a strategic position to assume leadership in correctional policy and practice. This is due, in part, to parole board members' lack of professional knowledge and values that reduce recidivism through offender rehabilitation and reentry services. For parole authorities to be upgraded to a leadership role they must be informed about evidence-based practices and reentry services within prisons. A discussion about core competencies for serving on a parole authority - whether as a chair, member, or executive staff - must begin with an acknowledgment of the importance of core values. If an individual has values that are congruent with parole's mission, then it is possible to build on that foundation through training and education in developing professional competence. The required core values for participation in parole decisionmaking include the following beliefs: Many offenders can become prosocial if provided with appropriate services; offenders should be provided with services that help them lead law-abiding lives, because it is socially just to do so; crime victims are legitimate stakeholders in the parole release and revocation process; and respect for knowledge obtained through empirical research and recognized theory can lead to improved parole release/revocation decisions, thereby enhancing public safety. Given these core values, parole authorities should develop specialized core competencies. This essay lists 16 abilities and knowledge categories that constitute core competencies for participants in parole authorities. 98 references


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