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Who to Release?: Parole, Fairness and Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
Nicola Padfield
Date Published
281 pages
This book examines the decisionmaking processes resulting in the release of serious offenders back into the community.
There is great concern about the decisionmaking processes which result in the release of serious offenders back into the community. At the same time, the number of ex-prisoners in the community who are recalled to prison because of concern by their supervisors, not for violating their parole, is at a record high. These are some of the issues addressed in this book. The chapters were originally conference papers at the Law Faculty at the University of Cambridge in 2006. The roots of the conference lay in the context in which the Parole Board has to function. The book is divided into five parts. The introduction seeks to summarize the main arguments developed in the 16 chapters. In the first part, a recurring theme is noted throughout the book, the role that a human rights culture can play in improving the quality of decisionmaking. Human rights and due process may thus enhance public protection. The second part of the book moves from the general to the more specific, looking at the process for indeterminate (life) sentence prisoners. The third part of the book focuses on the challenges posed by recalls, the number of which has more than tripled in the last 5 years. The fourth part includes chapters which ask whether predicting risk is fair. Results are presented on prisoners’ views on risk assessment. The fifth and final part seeks to pull the debate of the conference together. It focuses on public confidence, which is seen as the real challenge for the Parole Board. It closes with a personal overview demonstrating that human rights lawyers share common objectives with other participants in the parole process. Thus, the book underlines the interconnections between the various players in the resettlement of offenders in the community. The book encourages a certain reflection on the complexity of the parole process. Tables, references