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Description:

Provisions for community supervision of offenders, including probation, parole, and revocations for violations, vary significantly across the United States. Frustrating at times, this variety provides a valuable opportunity for states to learn from the policies, failures, and the successes in other states.

California prisons release nearly 120,000 prisoners each year, and roughly two-thirds of them will be back in prison within three years—the highest return-to-prison rate in the nation. Six out of ten admissions to California prisons are returning parolees, and on any given day, parole violators make up nearly a third of the state’s prison population.

Unfortunately, scientific knowledge about parole is so limited that, despite the fact that more than a dozen reports have urged an overhaul of California’s parole practices, exactly what needs to be done remains unclear.

This online panel discussed the results from a three-year study recently completed and supported by the National Institute of Justice that examined the ways in which decision makers respond to parole violations in California. The study represents the largest and most comprehensive study of parole violations ever conducted, and the lessons learned will be instructive to policy makers and practitioners in other states.

Resources:

Grattet, Ryken, Joan Petersilia, Jeffrey Lin, Marlene Beckman. (2009). Parole Violations and Revocations in California: Analysis and Suggestions for Action.  Federal Probation, June 2009. [SUMMARY OF FINDINGS] (PDF)

Grattet, Ryken, Joan Petersilia, and Jeffrey Lin. (2008). Parole Violations and Revocations in California.  [FULL REPORT] (PDF)

  • The study investigates patterns of parole violations and revocations (i.e., returns to custody) among adults on parole in California in 2003 and 2004, focusing on three clusters of predictive factors—characteristics of parolees, the parole agency, and parolees’ communities—and measures the effects of these factors on parole outcomes.

Petersilia, Joan. (2006). Understanding California Corrections. California Policy Research Center. (PDF)

A web–formatted version of the handbook: Parole Violations Revisited: A Handbook on Strengthening Parole Practices for Public Safety and Successful Transition to the Community. National Institute of Corrections and the Center for Effective Public Policy.

David Fialkoff. "Standardizing Parole Violation Sanctions." NIJ Journal, No. 263. (PDF)

When Offenders Break the Rules: Smart Responses to Parole and Probation Violations (PDF)

Successful Transition and Reentry for Safer Communities: A Call to Action for Parole (PDF)

Responding to Parole and Probation Violations: A Handbook to Guide Local Policy Development

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