The Changing Nature of 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 Changing Nature of Parole

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This chapter describes parole supervision (as distinguished from parole release) as it is practiced today. The major criticisms of parole release (e.g., unwarranted discretion and ineffectiveness) have been leveled at parole field supervision and have caused major changes and reforms there as well. Parole officers, historically committed to providing counseling and brokering community resources to assist parolees, have become more surveillance oriented. The public's tough-on-crime stance has demanded it, and the practical considerations of high parole caseloads combined with scarce resources have left parole officers with few alternatives. Drug testing, house arrest, and electronic monitoring are now common parole supervision techniques. Such techniques seldom contribute to rehabilitation; they just help identify the failures more quickly.

Keywords: parole release; parole supervision; unwarranted discretion; tough-on-crime stance; drug testing; house arrest

Chapter.  5768 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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