Examining Post Sentence Parole Effectiveness in a Matched Sample

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Gamwell, Laura Jennifer




Parole offers a fiscally responsible mechanism to improve public safety by facilitating the re-entry of Justice-Involved Persons (JIPs) into the community following a period of incarceration. This study sought to establish the effectiveness of parole in reducing post sentence charges in a sample of former parolees (n = 86) as compared with those released at end of sentence (EOS; n = 86) in a matched sample in Iowa. Quality of parole decisions and community supervision were considered and deemed reasonably met. JIPs in each group were matched on risk, sentence type and crime type using Coarsened Exact Matching. Cox proportional hazards survival analyses revealed a non-significant marginal effect of parole on post sentence charge, with former parolees 24% less likely to incur a charge on a given day than JIPs released at EOS (HR = .76, RSE=.24, p = .24). Follow-up analyses revealed an interaction between parole group and sentence type, wherein parolees who had served a sentence for felony offence had better post sentence survival than those who had served a sentence for a misdemeanor. The opposite trend was observed for the EOS group. Further, interactions were observed between group and problem-solving needs and prosocial identities; offering insight into how parole functions. Limitations of the study design and future directions for parole research are discussed, including methods to better account for the need for quality parole decision making and community supervision in parole effectiveness research.


Psychology - Behavioral




Carleton University

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