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Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Prediction in Parole Decision Making

John S. Carroll, Richard L. Wiener, Dan Coates, Jolene Galegher and James J. Alibrio
Law & Society Review
Vol. 17, No. 1 (1982), pp. 199-228
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/3053536
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3053536
Page Count: 30
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Prediction in Parole Decision Making
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Abstract

Discretionary legal decisions have become a recent focus of theory development and policy-oriented applied research. We investigated parole release decision making in Pennsylvania from both orientations. Analyses of post-hearing questionnaires and case files from 1,035 actual parole decisions revealed that the Parole Board considers institutional behavior and predictions of future risk and rehabilitation in the decision to release on parole. Predictions seem also to be based on diagnostic judgments identifying causes of crime such as personal dispositions, drugs, alcohol, money, and environment. A one-year follow-up of 838 released parolees showed that predictions were virtually unrelated to known post-release outcomes. An actuarial prediction device was developed that is more predictive than subjective judgments. The use of decision guidelines to structure discretion is discussed, as well as the utilization of our research in guideline development by Pennsylvania.

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