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Profile of Paroling Authorities in America: The Strange Bedfellows of Politics and Professionalism

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 89 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 401-425
Mario A. Paparozzi; Joel M. Caplan
Date Published
December 2009
25 pages
This article examines discretionary decisionmaking in parole.
This article explores and discusses how paroling authorities are organized, how their members are appointed, and the work experience, training, and credential requirements that support the appointment process. Results reveal that there had been little consistency and minimal attention within and across jurisdictions relative to the work experience, education requirements, and in-service training for members of paroling authorities. Given the indiscriminate nature of educational and work experience requirements, in-service training should be of paramount concern. The data also revealed that compensation for members of paroling authorities is substantial, yet recruitment for paroling authority members is generally a closed political process. Given the precedence of and monetary compensation for serving on a paroling authority, it was asserted that an open recruitment process would produce a substantial pool of highly qualified applicants. One of the central tasks of paroling authorities is to render discretionary decisions regarding parole release, revocation, and offender release contingencies. Discretionary decisionmaking based on professional competence is an important component of several highly regarded professions and business enterprises (jurisprudence, aviation, medicine, engineering, investment, finance, etc.) Recommendations are made for future studies addressing the relationship between professional qualifications of paroling authority members and parole outcomes. Data were collected from paroling authority chairs of 48 States and the District of Columbia from October 2000 through April 2001. Tables, figure, notes, and references


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