Paroling Authority Self-Assessment Toolkit

Practice Target 5:

Consider for release at the earliest stage possible—in light of statutes and other sentencing interests—offenders assessed as low risk.

Offenders who are at low risk to reoffend are unlikely to benefit from a correctional intervention designed to change their behavior11. Low risk offenders tend to recidivate at higher rates when services/interventions are over-delivered12. So, in essence, longer periods of incarceration and over-exposure to risk reduction programming, can actually increase the likelihood that a low risk offender will recidivate. In light of these insights, parole boards are encouraged to work with their correctional partners to encourage expeditious release of low risk offenders, once other sentencing interests—punishment and victim issues—have been served.

Using the assessment scale below, select a response to each question that (in your judgment) best reflects how fully your state and your board currently implement this aspect of the practice target under consideration. After clicking the “submit” button at the end of this section, you can view and print a summary of your responses that you can then use to guide a discussion with your fellow board members.


Does your board:

Have policies or practices in place that allow and encourage release of low risk offenders at the earliest possible date?
No Progress
Toward Implementation
Some Significant Progress
Toward Implementation
Full Implementation Unknown
1 2 3 4 5
Have policies or practices in place that discourage the use of scarce risk-reduction programming resources for low risk offenders?
No Progress
Toward Implementation
Some Significant Progress
Toward Implementation
Full Implementation Unknown
1 2 3 4 5
Have policies in place to encourage development of information on a suitable parole plan (residence, etc.)  so as not to delay potential releases for low risk offenders?
No Progress
Toward Implementation
Some Significant Progress
Toward Implementation
Full Implementation Unknown
1 2 3 4 5
Have policies in place that would permit offenders to participate in programming in the community to address low risk offenders' criminogenic needs, rather than requiring that these programs be completed during incarceration?
No Progress
Toward Implementation
Some Significant
Progress Toward Implementation
Full Implementation Unknown
1 2 3 4 5
In your judgment, how would you characterize your board’s progress in this area, considering the expectations/characteristics outlined above, and the previous discussion?
In your judgment, how would you rate the IMPORTANCE of bringing this practice target to full implementation in order for you to accomplish your goals as a paroling authority? Why?

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