The Origins and Evolution of Modern Parole

Joan Petersilia

in When Prisoners Come Home

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195160864
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943395 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy

The Origins and Evolution of Modern Parole

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses the early evolution of parole in the United States and its use in modern sentencing practices. Parole is similar to probation in that both refer to the supervision of an offender who lives and works in the community. Offenders on parole, however, have served prison terms and been released to the community under parole supervision. Proponents hoped that abolishing parole would reduce disparities in prison time served, and it has. Proponents also hoped that abolishing parole would tie the hands of parole boards, which were often accused of letting inmates out early. Recent research shows, however, that inmates actually serve longer prison terms in states retaining discretionary parole, and those states' parolees have higher success rates. Retaining discretionary parole may serve to refocus prison staff and corrections staff on planning for release, not just opening the door at release.

Keywords: United States; parole evolution; parole sentencing; parole supervision; probation; abolishing parole; discretionary parole

Chapter.  6727 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.