Use of Evidence-Based Decisionmaking Tools, Policies and Guidelines

Goals of this Guide and How to Use It

Decisionmaking tools are defined as standalone, structured and evidence-based  methods which assist and inform parole decisionmaking.  They may include such items as risk and needs assessment tools for a general offender population, or specialized assessment tools focused on sub-populations, such as sex offenders, justice-involved women, or on violent offenders.   These assessments may include static or dynamic factors, and may be incorporated or referenced in a parole Board's decisionmaking guidelines. 

Policies are defined as statements which articulate a parole Board's mission and goals, including its general approach to its responsibilities, clarifying procedures for hearings, victim input, materials considered in the parole process, and the like.

This Action Guide, Use of Evidence-Based Decisionmaking Tools, Policies and Guidelines, is designed to provide information and strategies to help parole Boards 1 improve and strengthen their abilities as decisionmakers and as policy making and leadership teams.  It is one of a set of Action Guides developed (and under development) 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 their  practices.  This Action Guide is intended to assist parole Board chairs, members, and staff to:

This guide is presented in sections to facilitate its use:

1 The term "parole Boards" is intended to denote any formally appointed body with authority to release eligible individuals on parole, to deny parole to eligible offenders, to set conditions for individuals released on parole, and/or to respond to violations of parole conditions—setting appropriate sanctions, including re-incarceration, as a response.  Although such entities are known by a variety of titles and generic terms—paroling authorities, Boards of probation and parole, etc., we will use "parole Board" in this Action Guide to denote such bodies, and "parole Board members" to denote the individuals who sit on those entities. 


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.


Background and Context >