Goals of this Guide, and How to Use It
This Action Guide, Paroling Authorities: The Importance of Engaging Meaningful Partnerships, is designed to provide information and tools to help paroling authorities heighten their interest in forming strong collaborative partnerships with key criminal justice stakeholders in their state, and to provide them with concrete suggestions and strategies for building these partnerships to strengthen the criminal justice system and to enhance community safety. It is one of a set of Action Guides being developed by the National Parole Resource Center (NPRC) to be used in concert with the Self-Assessment Toolkit for Paroling Authorities, which is an online guide that assists parole boards in considering the full range of paroling authority practices. This Action Guide is intended to assist parole board chairs, members, and staff to:
- Build upon the information and insights gained as a result of using the NPRC Self- Assessment Toolkit for Paroling Authorities—particularly regarding partnerships;
- Understand the opportunity presented by the parole interview as an occasion to encourage an offender's motivation to change;
- Explore the importance of building meaningful partnerships with other criminal justice stakeholders. Parole Boards have significant independence and autonomy in decisionmaking about individual cases, and in establishing their own policy and operating strategies. However, by working with their criminal justice system partners, parole Boards can assist in efforts to improve the system's effectiveness overall, and also better achieve their own mission and vision.1
- Consider some of the potential benefits of such partnerships. Parole Boards typically do not directly control prison programming or population movement, nor do they – in most states – control parole supervision and community resources. Clearly, their individual decisions have an impact upon these other resources. However, a direct, system-level approach to working with partners can result in a much more strategic and deliberate movement toward system change and improvement—including a more strategic transition and reentry process and the availability of effective treatment resources that are central to reducing risk and recidivism.
- Share information among Board members on potential opportunities for collaboration that may exist already in your state; identify specific topics that lend themselves to beginning collaborative communications among partners, as well as on specific goals for collaboration that the Board may want to consider.
- Consider what changes a Board would like to implement and how to best plan and implement these changes to strengthen its participation in collaborative partnerships as a key strategy.
This guide is presented in sections to facilitate its use:
- This first section—Tab 1—provides the Goals of the Guide and How to Use It.
- Tab 2: provides Background and Context regarding the issues addressed by the Guide. It focuses on the significant influence that parole Boards have on the larger criminal justice system, and how that influence can be strengthened and utilized in a more strategic manner when Boards engage in collaborative partnerships with other stakeholders.
- Tab 3: assists with Understanding the Evidence and Its Implications for Partnerships. It anchors the discussion by referring to the core evidence emerging from the research on effective strategies to reduce risk and recidivism. It then focuses on collaboration as an effective means for accomplishing shared goals across the system and how maintaining meaningful partnerships and leveraging resources can be supportive of community safety and reducing re-offense risks.
- Tab 4: Moving Toward Implementing Practice Improvements, details steps for successfully implementing evidence-based approaches to maintaining meaningful partnerships and leveraging resources. The steps include a set of questions that, if answered accurately, will give Boards a picture of key aspects of their practices that impact potential partnerships. The section closes with a sample action plan and tools to guide parole Boards through a process of updating the goals they hope to accomplish, as well as defining and implementing changes they conclude must be made in policy and/or practice.
- Tab 5: suggests a Plan to Measure Performanceand offers methods for defining and measuring progress toward success, and revising practices as necessary.
- Tab 6: provides References and endnotes.
- Tab 7: lists helpful Links to theNPRC web site and other resources that provide further information and resources on this topic.
1 It should be noted that paroling authority members will also find it essential to build effective collaborations among their own membership, even before they can build effective collaborations externally. Strategies for internal team building are addressed in a number of companion Action Guides that are or will be available at www.nationalparoleresourcecenter.org.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2010-DJ-BX-K140 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.