Parole is the mechanism of releasing an offender from a secure facility after the completion of certain portion of her or his sentence. Every state has different organization and implementation of parole boards in a manner that is most suitable for that state and the selection of members based on factors such as selection by the state’s governor, term of service, number of person serving on parole board, and use of full-time or part-time members. Like parole boards, the guidelines for granting parole also vary from state to state. The primary concern while granting the parole is the probability of recidivism.
Every state in United State varies in terms of selection and organization of parole board. The role of board is to determine the criteria for granting parole to the offenders. In most states, different cases are assigned to different parole board members individually so that they can convey their primary recommendations. After finalizing the initial recommendation, a formal meeting is hold where parole participants share their opinions. When the meeting is arranged with the criminal, it is possible that just one member or all the members involved with the decision may be present. Finally, board members may have to travel to the facility where inmate is located or the inmate may be brought to the place where board is located i.e. probably state capital.
Now the guidelines or criteria for parole selection also vary from state to state. Some states have a minimum time limit that must be served. While others have conditions on the type of offences that the criminal have committed. Some states use both of these criteria along with others. Nevertheless, the final decision is made by board members and there are plenty of criteria influencing the decision by any parole review body. The factors considered into the parole board’s decision are not necessarily noted by official agency guidelines such as institutional infrastructure, age of the criminal, marital status, level of education, and other elements. Common conditions for parolees are identical to many of those for offenders on probation. For instance, Oklahoma State requires $40 as parole fee at the minimum and clearly outlines the potential outcomes if an offender violates the terms of his or her parole. This can include increased supervision, reintegration, training, and weekend incarceration, the addition of day reporting centers, nighttime incarceration, jail time, and incarceration.
The primary concern with granting parole is the possibility of recidivism. To reduce the risk factor, the development of prediction tools and use of statistical risk prediction turn out to be useful. In some states, prison overcrowding is increasing and there may be a need to reduce it, therefore, over prediction of offending is costly to prison system because it can incarcerate persons who are at no risk of reoffending. Other factors also affect the decision to grant parole. For example, an offender may have a high likelihood of reoffending but the type of reoffending maybe of a minor nature. Thus the nature and type of reoffending is also a significant consideration among parole board especially if the prisons are already overcrowded.
Parole granting guidelines vary from state to state depending on the prison conditions. Factors that influence parole granting are nature of offence, institutional infrastructure, age of the criminal, marital status, level of education, and other elements. The states having overcrowded prisons are more likely to grant parole to the offender with minor offence.