Project Resources

Assessing and Understanding Excellence in Parole Board Practice

Paroling Authority Checklist(2018)
The Paroling Authority Self-Assessment Checklist was developed as a quick, concise self-assessment tool that paroling authorities can use to consider their current practices, and the degree to which they mirror the National Parole Resource Center’s practice targets for risk reduction. This checklist can be printed and used by paroling authority members together as a board to assess how well their current practices align with the ten practice targets for parole excellence, and where they might consider strengthening their efforts to promote successful outcomes for parolees.

Paroling Authority Self-Assessment Toolkit(2012)
Paroling authorities play a critical role within correctional systems across the nation. They make thousands of decisions a year about the timing of release from prison for a significant number of offenders each year, set conditions of release and respond to violations of post-release supervision for many thousands more, and serve as important partners in contributing to public safety and the wise use of resources. This toolkit offers a structured, self-assessment guide to assist paroling authorities to consider their current practices, and the degree to which they mirror the National Parole Resource Center’s practice targets for risk reduction. By completing this Toolkit, paroling authority members can gain preliminary insight into how their practices compare to these targets, and where they might want to focus further attention in strengthening their work in the future.

Parole Boards as Critical Stakeholders in Targeting Resources to Enhance Community Safety(2013)
This Action Guide is designed to assist Parole Boards in strengthening their policies and practices to achieve their central goal of enhancing community safety. It is one in a series of Action Guides developed (and under development) by the National Parole Resource Center (NPRC) and builds upon the NPRCSelf-Assessment Toolkit for Paroling Authorities, an online guide that identifies ten practice targets paroling authorities should consider implementing to assist them in achieving their public safety and risk reduction goals.

Evidence-Based Policy, Practice, and Decision Making: Implications for Paroling Authorities (2011)
This publication examines information emerging from research on evidence-based practice and decisionmaking in parole and the implications of these findings for paroling authorities. Five chapters comprise this document: evidence-based policy, practice, and decisionmaking—what it is and why paroling authorities should be interested in it; significant research findings regarding risk reduction—implications for paroling authorities; reaching the full recidivism reduction potential—using a systemwide approach to evidence-based decisionmaking; evaluating the research—how much evidence in enough; and the benefits of an evidence-based approach and recommendations for action—why pursue an evidence-based approach.

Strategic Planning and Management for Results (2011)
This paper provides guidance for a paroling authority in defining its vision and mission, assembling information and resources to accomplish its goals, and putting into place appropriate management and performance measurement systems to carry out its objectives and measure its progress. Six chapters are contained in this publication: craft your vision and mission statements; assess your organization’s current operating practices; engage key partners; plan and take strategic action; review information and manage for results; and conclusion.

Core Competencies: A Resource for Parole Board Chairs, Members, and Executive Staff (2010)
New parole board members and parole executives should read this publication. It will introduce them to the core competencies they need to have to effectively execute their public responsibilities. Chapters cover: the broad context of parole work—parole’s function, purpose, and role in the criminal justice system, parole and other state or local entities, and legal and ethical issues; discharging duties effectively—leadership, strategic planning, emerging best practices and evidence-based practices, and collaboration; and individual case decisionmaking—tools that promote consistent outcomes for similar cases, parole hearings, interviews and file reviews, parole conditions that support the goals of the parole board or agency and evidence-based principles and practices, and violation decisionmaking.

Risk and Needs Assessment

Use of Sound, Actuarial Assessments for Risk and Needs(2014)
This Action Guide is designed to help parole boards improve and strengthen their practice by incorporating empirically valid information on offender risk and need factors into release, condition setting, and revocation decision-making.

Decisionmaking Tools and Guidelines

Use of Evidence-Based Decisionmaking Tools, Policies and Guidelines(2014)
This Action Guide is designed to provide information and strategies to help parole Boards improve and strengthen their abilities as decisionmakers and as policy making and leadership teams.

The Parole Interview

Using the Parole Interview to Encourage Offender Motivation to Change (2014)
This Action Guide is designed to provide information and tools to help paroling authorities improve and strengthen their practice with respect to using the parole interview to encourage an offender’s motivation to change.

The Parole Interview as an Opportunity to Enhance an Offender’s Motivation to Change(2012)
At the 2012 annual training conference of the Association of Paroling Authorities International (APAI), a panel of experts was convened to present information on Motivational Interviewing, to explore some of its potential uses in the parole interview setting, to explore insights emerging from an effort by the Colorado Board of Parole to utilize this techniques in its hearing process, and to respond to some of the questions and concerns voiced by parole board members at the session. The videos should be watched in consecutive order (either in one sitting, or separately as time allows.)

Condition Setting

Setting Parole Conditions to Achieve Public Safety(2013)
This new online resource is one in a series of Action Guides that will be developed by the NPRC. This Action Guide on Setting Parole Conditions to Achieve Public Safety is intended to assist parole Board chairs, members, and staff to:

  • Use the information and insights gained as a result of using the NPRC Self- Assessment Toolkit for Paroling Authorities;
  • Consider how condition-setting practices can be part of a strategy for enhancing public safety and the wise use of resources;
  • Develop a common understanding of the Board’s current policies and practices with respect to condition setting;
  • Review and analyze the evidence and “best practices” with respect to setting conditions and identify the gaps and challenges they want to address; and
  • Consider what changes the Board would like to make and how to best plan and implement those changes.

Specifically, this Action Guide, when used effectively by a Board committed to improving public safety, will enable that Board to: fashion condition setting policy to minimize requirements on low risk offenders, and target conditions to criminogenic needs of medium and high risk offenders. Click her to access this exciting new resource.

Responding to Violations

A Strategic Approach to Responding to Parole Violations(2014)
This Action Guide is designed to assist parole Board members considering the development, modification, or improvement of their parole violation systems by developing more effective responses to violations, and improving parole violation decision making.

Special Populations


Special Challenges Facing Parole(2011)
This guide is designed to lay out the context, summarize the key issues, highlight the recent research, and provide suggestions about where to find more extensive and detailed resources about special populations parole boards may have contact with. Seven chapters are contained in this publication: sex offenders; offenders who have significant mental health concerns; offenders who have significant substance abuse problems; women offenders; aging or geriatric offenders; youthful/juvenile offenders in the adult correctional system; and the challenges of housing for offenders released from prison.

Low Risk Offenders

Management of Low Risk Offenders (2014)
This Action Guide is designed to help parole Boards improve and strengthen their practice by considering, in particular, how empirically valid information on offender risk can help shape their decision-making practices—both with regard to setting expectations around program participation and with regard to the timing of release, with a particular emphasis on offenders assessed as low risk to reoffend.

Justice Involved Women

Resource Package for Paroling Authorities on Criminal Justice Involved Women (2014)
Most correctional policy has been designed and implemented to address the challenges of managing a predominantly male offender population. This male-driven focus stems from the fact that men have historically represented the vast majority of offenders in correctional institutions and on community supervision. However, as the population of women offenders has grown, so has an appreciation for the differences between male and female offenders. As such, the National Parole Resource Center (NPRC), in partnership with the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW has developed the Resource Package for Paroling Authorities on Criminal Justice Involved Women to assist paroling authorities to consider their current practices with justice-involved women, and the degree to which they mirror the National Parole Resource Center’s practice targets for enhancing community safety and the wise use of resources.

Sex Offenders

Resource Package for Paroling Authorities on Sex Offenders(2014)
Effectively managing sex offenders is among the top criminal justice policy concerns nationwide, and preventing sexual victimization is a key goal for professionals at all stages of the criminal justice system, including those who are responsible for parole decisionmaking. The National Parole Resource Center (NPRC) has developed a Resource Package for Paroling Authorities on Sex Offenders to assist paroling authorities to consider their current practices with adult sex offenders and the degree to which these practices align with the NPRC practice targets to support risk reduction.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders

Resource Package on Offenders with Mental Illnesses and/or Substance Use Disorders (2014)
This resource package provides an introduction for parole board members to some of the most significant challenges they will face in carrying out their responsibilities with respect to these populations, along with a summary of the latest research and strategic thinking in the field. Given the prevalence of these behavioral health issues in the correctional population, one of the most important challenges for paroling authority members is to assist in prioritizing the use of scarce supervision and treatment resources to achieve the greatest impact in terms of public safety.


Paroling Authorities: The Importance of Engaging Meaningful Partnerships (2014)
This Action Guide 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.

The Future of Parole as A Key Partner in Assuring Public Safety (2011)
This paper provides suggestions and examples about how these key decisionmaking functions of parole [which offenders participate in which programs, when, and for how long] can be shaped to target resources effectively according to the principles of risk, need, and responsivity. Sections of this publication include: introduction; historical context; the cusp of change; parole at the crossroads; resources to support parole’s new role; targets of excellence in paroling authority decisionmaking; specific steps paroling authorities can take to enhance their ability to provide targeting policy-driven parole decisionmaking—individual and team excellence; and conclusion.

Public Education

Public and Stakeholder Education Toolkit (2014)
Providing guidance to releasing authorities in developing a public and stakeholder education strategy is one of the charges of NPRC. This Toolkit is based on research and experience from a range of public policy disciplines, including parole — and provides both overall guidance along with examples intended to assist individual parole Boards as they develop a public and stakeholder strategy appropriate to their own mission and role.

Highlights from Selected States

Vignettes on the National Parole Resource Center Learning Sites (2011)
At the onset of the National Parole Resource Center, the project selected four states (Connecticut, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota) through a competitive process to serve as Learning Sitesfor the project. These sites received ongoing technical assistance from the project team over approximately a two year period. This publication documents the assistance provided to each site and highlights the lessons learned and considerable accomplishments in all four of the participating states.