Four Recommended Essential Elements
- Structure and Mission: Releasing Authorities shall adopt written policies and procedures, reviewed and revised regularly, and open to public review. Releasing Authorities shall adopt clearly defined, easy to understand written mission statements and strategic plans, which encompass public safety and rehabilitation. Releasing Authorities shall assure that crime victims are appropriately notified and given the opportunity to provide input.
- Training and Education:Releasing Authorities shall provide initial and ongoing training for members that include a historical perspective of how and why parole was created within their respective jurisdictions. Members should understand their legal duties and authority, and adhere to a written code of ethics. Training and education should address current suggested practices, as well as enhance and strengthen skills as it relates to individual decision-making.
- Incorporate Evidence Based Practices: Releasing Authorities shall seek to incorporate practices into their operations that are proven through research to be effective in reducing recidivism. Releasing Authorities shall measure performance, and have transparent, written criteria that are considered in making release, condition setting and modification, revocation, and early termination decisions.
- Engage System and Community Partners: Releasing Authorities shall strive to enhance opportunities for offender success by collaborating with partners both within and outside of the criminal justice system, supporting the supervision of offenders in their communities, employing informal social controls, and enabling offenders to meaningfully participate in the supervision process.
Neutrality, Impartiality, and Objectivity In Decision-Making
- Paroling authorities must serve as neutral, impartial, and objective decision makers insulated from undue influences originating from parties representing specific ideological views and positions, with respect to desired outcomes, in parole release or revocation hearings. Paroling authorities must maintain objectivity and independence in decision making, in order to provide fair proceedings, free of undue influence, thereby assuring the public’s trust.
- When collaborating with or receiving input from other entities and agencies within the criminal justice system, paroling authorities must do so in a manner that respects and reinforces impartiality, and shall remain neutral and objective in examining facts, testimony, and related information that will be used in fashioning decisions affecting an offender’s liberty interest.
- Paroling Authorities must consider all evidence in an impartial, objective and neutral way. The paroling authority must assist in the fair administration of the law by seeking the truth and balancing the protection of the community with the preservation of individual rights.
- Accordingly, the Association of Paroling Authorities encourages paroling authorities to establish policies and standard practices that will assist in ensuring neutrality, impartiality, and objectivity as an integral part of their culture and practices, realizing that failing to do so could undermine and diminish the public trust in paroling authorities and the criminal justice process.