U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

What's Race Got to do with Justice?: Responsibilization Strategies at Parole Hearings

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 45 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2005 Pages: 340-354
Martin Silverstein
Date Published
May 2005
15 pages
This study examined the responsibilization strategies at parole hearings for Aboriginal, Hispanic, and Asian inmates, and how they differ from hearings for White inmates where a family responsibilization strategy prevails.
The introduction of risk assessment, risk management, and responsibilization strategies over the last three decades differentiates a shift in criminal justice decisionmaking from due process to management of actuarial risks which, in turn, impacts the dynamics and outcomes of parole hearings. This paper deconstructs the processes and the rational behind contemporary measures of co-managing a troublesome population of parolees in communities. Specifically, it considers Aboriginal community responsibilization strategies and Hispanic and Asian individual responsibilization strategies at parole hearings. A qualitative analysis was conducted to examine parole hearings and their nuances. Parole hearings were observed and participants were interviewed. Findings show that parole board members use race and ethnicity as part of risk-management strategies for Aboriginal, Hispanic, and Asian inmates. Aboriginal inmates find that parole boards use race in constructing their community responsibilization approaches. Although the parole board’s overall goal is to facilitate the reintegration of all inmates, board members tend to free Aboriginal inmates through an inexpensive community strategy and Hispanic and Asian parolees through an inexpensive individual shaming strategy. In this actuarial approach to justice, an inmate’s risk is assessed and then parole board members determine whether that risk is manageable in their communities, especially if it is an Aboriginal inmate going into an Aboriginal community. References


No download available