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Sentencing by Parole Board - The Parole Revocation Decision (From Trial Process, P 459-480, 1981, Bruce D Sales, ed. - See NCJ-87873)

NCJ Number
J S Carroll; R B Ruback
Date Published
22 pages
This chapter describes how the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole makes revocation decisions about parolees who have been convicted of a new crime while on parole.
In order to identify the important factors in decisionmaking, a 40-item questionnaire was completed by all 5 board members and 8 hearing examiners in 295 hearings held in 1977. Because some of the case files could not be obtained in time, there were only 216 hearings containing board actions that were available for analysis. Questions focused on the nature of the new offense, criminal record, previous parole performance, treatment needs, time remaining on sentence, and recommendations. In the sample of 216 cases considered, 78 percent were recommitted. The revocation decision seems to differ markedly from the parole release decision. In Pennsylvania, the revocation and back-time decisions focus primarily on the violation offense in a sanctioning manner, with secondary emphasis on parole performance. In contrast, parole board members do not base the parole release decision on the seriousness of the current or past offenses. Although the judge's sentence is strongly based on criminal acts, the board considers other case factors in deciding whether to release the offender. These factors include special deterrence, risk of future crime, and possibility for rehabilitation. Revocation decisions are more likely judicial sentencing decisions than either are like parole release decisions. One figure, 1 table, 2 footnotes, and 13 references are provided.