|About the Book|
This study used a retrospective analysis of existing administrative data to determine the extent to which input (for and against release) affected parole release decisions in New Jersey---where both victims and non-victims could submit input viaMoreThis study used a retrospective analysis of existing administrative data to determine the extent to which input (for and against release) affected parole release decisions in New Jersey---where both victims and non-victims could submit input via written or videotaped correspondence, by telephone, or in person. Data were collected from State Parole Board case files on a sample of 820 inmates whose parole release decisions were made during 2004. Effects of three aspects of input (source, type, and orientation) on parole release decisions were tested.-Results suggest that input was not a significant predictor of parole release in New Jersey, when controlling for other release factors. Negative input did, however, appear to decrease the odds of an inmates release to a greater extent than positive input which, for all intensive purposes, neither helped nor hurt an inmates odds of parole release. With regard to negative input, results also suggest that (a) victims had a slightly greater detrimental affect on parole release than non-victims and (b) verbal input was more influential than written input. Measures of institutional behavior, crime severity, and criminal history were significantly associated with parole release.-This study suggests that the impact of victim input on parole release decisions is not intuitive and results may not be generalizable across different types of offenders or across different paroling jurisdictions. Policy recommendations are grounded in theories of procedural justice and legitimacy. They are: In the short-term, (1) to conduct similar studies in all states with parole boards that consider victim input- (2) to formally decide how much weight to give victim input when deciding parole release- (3) to clarify the value and influence of input so that it can be solicited from victims only for specific and useful purposes- and in the long-run, (4) to replace or augment victim input programs with restorative justice-type programs designed to prepare inmates for their eventual community reentry and to provide victims with some much needed closure. It is concluded that the unique interests of all stakeholders must be balanced appropriately for long-term public safety.