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31 - The Psychology of Parole Decision-Making

from Part IV - Postconviction Phase Decisions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2024

Monica K. Miller
University of Nevada, Reno
Logan A. Yelderman
Prairie View A & M University, Texas
Matthew T. Huss
Creighton University, Omaha
Jason A. Cantone
George Mason University, Virginia
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This chapter discusses the legal and extralegal factors that affect a parole board member’s decision regarding whether or not to release a prisoner on parole. While some states have mandatory parole, others have discretionary parole, which is the most widely cited process for parole release in the US currently. Discretionary parole allows a board to decide if the prisoner should be released based on statutory factors, which are examined in this chapter. However, they might also be influenced by emotions, biases, public/political pressure, and other extralegal factors. The chapter provides an overview of what these extralegal factors are and how they might affect decisions. The chapter also provides an examination of both parole board member and inmate characteristics that influence release decisions, with a focus on if and how they affect risk assessments. The chapter synthesizes this body of research and offers future directions and implications for the legal field. Future research and/or policy implications are discussed.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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